The Mintec price of Polish apples rose by 12% to €0.13/kg in the eleven weeks to March 17, 2021. The increase can be attributed to a smaller crop being forecast for the 2020/21 marketing year.
Last November, the United States Department of Agriculture estimated Polish apple production to be 10% higher year-on-year, at 3.3 million tonnes for MY 2020/21. However, market participants in recent weeks indicated that crop volumes may be smaller than initially projected. This would mainly be due to extreme weather events and the absence of sufficient labour due to the pandemic.
Supplies have been further tightened, with news that a large number of Polish apples are of a lower quality or damaged due to weather events. Accordingly, these apples are more likely to be sold in the processing sector, rather than be used in the fresh market.
The current level of apple stocks is projected to dampen any further bullish impetus in the market. World Apple and Pear Association (WAPA) report stocks as of March 2021 to be 837,000 tonnes, up by 20% compared to the previous 5-year average (2016-2020). High stock levels, coupled with weaker retail apple demand year-on-year, is likely to provide some bearish sentiment across most European markets during Q2 2021.