US Raisins Update – May 2014

Market

This years crop is now expected to total 317 – 350 000 tons, up until last week packers had received approximately 321 000 tons, representing  the original crop estimate made in October last year.

Production figures are definitely higher than last year’s, figures for total shipments (export/domestic) from January to May are up 13% compared to the same period last year, with export figures alone being up 26%, with a 50% increase in the month of April from 2013 to 2014.

We can expect prices to firm going ahead for the rest of the crop as stocks at origin tighten at origin. The USDA (Department of Agriculture) has increased their orders, now totalling around 15 420 tons for their use in non-profit operations such as school catering and charitable domestic food aid. Some believe that this figure could increase again to over 17 700 tons, squeezing supplies further.

New Crop

The rainy season is now almost complete in California, which has only seen around 30% of normal precipitation levels. Because of a lack of water, growers expect only around 50% of the land to produce a crop this year, hoping that there will be a carry over from the current crop. At present there is no estimation for fruit size in the upcoming crop.

At the current shipment rates to Europe many exporters are unable to maintain their normal margins, for this reason too, it is reasonable to expect prices rising in the very near future.

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