Spot prices for bananas in Ecuador are registering values that, for the moment, far exceed the official 6.25 dollars average contract price decreed by the Ministry of Agriculture.
According to producers and exporters consulted by Diario Expreso, in week 6 the 43-pound box of bananas was traded for 9.75 to 10 dollars in Guayas and El Oro and for up to 10.59 dollars in the province of Los Rios.
In the first 6 weeks of this year, the spot price has increased by a little more than 3 dollars. This increase has been driven, among other causes, by the impact of hurricanes Eta and Iota in the Central American producing countries, which caused Honduras and Guatemala to lose approximately 40 million boxes, stated Kleber Sigüenza, the former president of the Chamber of Agriculture of Zone II and an active member of the banana cluster. "This caused a decrease in the supply of fruit for the United States, which led to an increase in the demand for Ecuadorian banana and a global rise in spot prices."
However, there are other factors that have led to this increase, such as the temporary decrease in Ecuador's supply in the last quarter of 2020 due to the unusually cold weather in the country, which continues to date.
The fruit's weight has also decreased as a result of the low and unusual temperatures. “That is healthy for the entire industry. The annual average spot price is expected to be a little higher than the official price, and that stabilizes market expectations,” stated Kleber Sigüenza. However, no one dares to predict how long the banana spot prices will remain high, as more hectares have been planted and the climate in Europe changes; which will cause a natural drop in prices.