The start of the new marketing season has been successful so far. Demand increased in December, in line with the holidays. All in all, sales were satisfactory at the good level of the previous year. Wholesale prices of Austrian dessert apples, sorted and packaged, were generally stable at the previous month's level. There were no significant increases in value, with the exception of a few outliers. The Gala variety, for example, was confirmed at an average of EUR 0.68/kg at the ramp. Golden Delicious recorded a slight decline of 0.58 EUR/kg and -5 %. A kilo of Jonagold yielded an average of EUR 0.50/kg, remaining virtually unchanged. The positive price trend, which has continued since August, seems to have come to a standstill for the time being in December. In view of increasing red-white-red exports in the second half of the season and firmer international apple prices, domestic receivables could also be raised again in the medium term, provided the fruit sizes are appropriate.
The nationwide stock level for dessert apples (conventional and organic) recorded by the AMA, amounted to 94,099 tons as of 01.12. Inflows still occurred for late varieties. European stockists reported 13.5 % less than in 2018 for December. Among the largest producer countries, only France recorded a positive inventory development thanks to above-average production of +13.0% compared to the previous year.
Constant domestic demand for carrots
The Austrian carrot market was once again balanced, with prices stable in December. The wholesale price for carrots, washed, sorted and packaged, which is charged by the AMA, was slightly improved by 8.5 % to an average of EUR 0.58 per kg compared to the previous month. Before the public holidays, the supply of carrots increased noticeably and exports were also made on a smaller scale.
Onion exports pick up speed
Domestic onion prices in December seamlessly continued the level of the previous month. At an average of EUR 0.34 per kg, Austrian summer onions, graded and packaged, were priced wholesale and were thus quoted fairly exactly in line with the average for the last 5 months. After the high level of the previous business year, the domestic onion market had finally cooled down by the end of the year. Due to the weather conditions, the current season will be dominated by small to medium sized onions. Large batches are in short supply and are preferred for export. This has recently intensified towards Eastern and Southern Europe. Across Europe, there are noticeably more onions available than last year. Due to Indian export restrictions, exports to Asia could compensate for this, and Austrian onion exports might benefit indirectly.
Balanced potato market
The Lower Austrian producer prices for firm cooking potatoes remained unchanged in December at an average of EUR 25.00 per tonne, 14% above the figure for the previous year. Ongoing deliveries ensured a rapid processing of the transactions. Farmers are striving for rapid relocation this year, as prices are not expected to rise in the second half of the season either. A supply bottleneck like last spring is not foreseeable. Experience has shown that retail chains schedule significant quantities of North African imported goods from mid-February onwards.