AgrarMarkt Austria: Market Report Fruits and Vegetables, July 2019

Austria: Exports as a regulator for slow apple sales

Apple market: Midsummer slows down sales, exports regulate
In July, the AMA's wholesale price for conventionally grown dessert apples CL I, sorted and packaged, depreciated for the fourth month in a row and was down 0.49 EUR / kg, 10% below the previous month;s price. With an average of 0.50 EUR / kg and 0.69 EUR / kg respectively, Golden Delicious and Gala traded unchanged to last month and showed a stable price development in July. The sales of Fuji and Braeburn, both varieties that saw a slight price increase, are largely transnational; mainly to Germany, Scandinavia and Spain. The Eastern European market is still served by Poland. And in a big way. With alleged 0.10 EUR / kg for Jonagolds and Idareds, the local fresh market is actually blocked for the competition. The impulses currently mainly come from the export markets.

As of 01.July 2019, the AMA reported a total inventory level (organic and regular) of around 37,300 t. The seasonal deficit in June was 27% larger than in May. Despite the high summer temperatures, the reduction of of 12,635 t was still at a very acceptable level, not least because of good business relations.

Naturally, the weak international price levels are reflected in the domestic foreign trade balance. Although apple exports rose 27% year-on-year to April 2019, revenues ultimately declined by 24%.

The European wholesale price for dessert apples stood at EUR 0.57 / kg in July, 38% below the very high level of the previous year. Apple storages of the member states were still quite well-stocked as of 1 July, at +55% to the long-term average. As of the reporting date, 560,000 t were still waiting for customers.

The fears of some market observers that the European stocks could have a negative impact on the cost price of the new crop seem to be justified for some varieties. The new season has already begun in Austria.

Strawberry production 2019 sees a juicy increase
The last strawberries from outdoor cultivation have already been picked. The nationwide harvest result for 2019 shows an increase of production by 25% as compared to 2018, with an almost constant acreage (-1.8%). On average, the amount increased by 27% compared to last year. Decisive for this was the more than adequate water supply in May. Unlike last year, the fruits developed well accordingly and this all led to adequate fruit sizes.

Lower Austria, with 470 ha of acreage, the largest producer in Austria, was able to increase its yield by 18%. Upper Austria, too, had stabilized again after the massive heat and drought-related failures in 2018, with an average yield of 100 dt / ha. Styria released quantities according to its acreage (-10%), while Carinthia had to accept harvest losses for early varieties due to frost damage. Meanwhile, despite regional hailstorms in the district of Mattersburg, Burgenland recorded a normal harvest of 540 t. All in all, local marketers can be quite satisfied with this season.

Carrot market without problems
The Austrian carrot market had eased further in July, in line with an increasing supply. The initially manageable supply of new crops was sold primarily on the domestic market. The holiday-related, quiet demand could be addressed adequately. While at the beginning of the month Lower Austrian carrots, packed in a 5 kg bundle, still cost 47.50 EUR / dt, the producer prices leveled off in the course of July, to 42.50 EUR / dt. This meant it matched the levels of the corresponding period of the previous year.

Producer price for Lower Austrian onions dropped
In July, the domestic onion market was seasonally quiet. Increasing availability could only be absorbed to a limited extent by a rather low demand. At the end of July, week 31, one paid 29.50 EUR / dt. for Lower Austrian onions, loose and sorted according to quality. A decline of around 50% on the corresponding week of the previous month.

Dryness increasingly reduces new potato yields
Unlike last year, this year there is definitely no oversupply of domestic new potatoes. After an already very dry month of June, there was still a lack of rainfall in July, which could at most have noticeably helped tuber development. Due to dryness and heat stress, the yield per hectare was halved compared to regular years. On average, 20-25 t / ha were reported by Austria's dry areas. These are quite unsatisfactory numbers. The market would of course be ready to take the tubers in.

In the end, producer prices for Lower Austrian early potatoes remained strong, quoted at an average of € 38.20 / dt in July, down 8% from the previous month.

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