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EU: Stable citrus market expected

The European citrus season is underway. Last October, Freshfel issued a report outlining the prospects for the coming season, in particular in regard to European countries, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, and Israel and Morocco. EU markets appear to be stable, although dwindling EU consumption is some reason for concern.


Total output this season will be about 6% smaller than last year, approximately 6.1 million tons. Overall quality is likely to be good. Oranges and lemons might be on the small side. Citrus crops suffered minor damage due to bad weather. Lemon and grapefruit in particular were affected by hail. All in all, the Spanish season is off to a good start, also because competitor Argentina wasn’t able to deliver.


The red orange will likely underperform on the 2012/13 market: nearly 40% of crops sustained damage due to storms in March. Normal orange production is down as well, with 10-15%. Quality however, is said to be excellent. Lemon production is down with 15%, mandarins up with 10%.


The season for lemons and grapefruit has been delayed by a week due to unseasonably warm weather, but mandarin and orange cultivation is on schedule. Overall, weather has hardly affected size, shape and colour of citrus, apart from perhaps a smaller mandarin. Cyprus did not have a good season last year, and the 2012/13 prognosis isn’t much better.


The weather in Greece has been fine throughout, hailstorms just affecting the mandarin harvest. Official numbers put the country’s prospect on par with last season. The sector anticipates prices to be stable.


The production of oranges and mandarins is deemed comparable to last year´s. Lemons and grapefruit however, will probable see a much lower turnout due to unfavourable weather conditions.


Israel´s 2012-13 season is off to a very promising start. Volumes and quality are both good. The market too looks better than last year, when large volumes of South African grapefruit clogged markets. The economic uncertainty in some European countries may have an impact on the export to certain destinations. There will in all likelihood be pressure on the Russian market.


Morocco´s domestic market is doing well, which may yet have an impact on export. The season has met with some minor delays, mostly because of alternating weather conditions. Wind and heat affected mandarin crops, the harvest being behind by three weeks. Other citrus crops suffered no such delays and are said to be on schedule.

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