The recent political problems in Turkey have caused the Turkish Lira to fall to record levels against the US Dollar with a rate of 2.16TL to $1.00. This represents a 3% reduction in cost in the past two weeks. This has had a major impact on the export prices of all products from Turkey and is therefore good news for dried fruit buyers throughout the EU.
Sales of Turkish sultanas and raisins have dropped significantly following the price increases earlier in the season, but packers are hopeful that January and February will see an increase in demand. This may or may not materialise as buyers have altered their recipes to include other origins, and in particular US raisins and will therefore be reluctant to change again this season.
The Turkish sultanas market is quiet following the holiday shutdown and reports are that prices on the local Izmir Bourse are unchanged 4.50 TL to 4.70 TL per kilo. There remains a shortage of smaller sized sultanas, but better grades such as number 10 and 11 are still available. Average prices are between US$2475-US$2525 pmt FOB Izmir for specially cleaned standard no. 9 quality. There remains reluctance from some packers to offer forward, although offers are now available through until September.
Turkish fig prices remain firm with strong sales up until the end of December. This is good news for the Turkish fig industry but will mean that prices are likely to remain unchanged for the foreseeable future. Buyers should therefore consider taking forward cover until the new season so that they can take advantage of the currency fluctuation.
Prices of Turkish apricots are also broadly unchanged with whole pitted no 4 apricots around US$2800 pmt FOB Izmir with smaller sizes such as no. 6 at a significant discount at around US$2150-2200 pmt FOB Izmir. The price reduces even further for sized no. 8 which are available between US$1725-US$1750 pmt FOB Izmir.
US raisin prices are also unchanged at around US$1.10 per lb. C&F Felixstowe for select grade TSRs. Again, offers are available from January through until September which should help bring stability to the market as a whole. The continuing strength of Sterling and the better than expected prognosis for the UK economy suggests that Sterling rates could increase to $1.70 to £1.00 and this should further help reduce raw material costs.
Expectations are therefore that the year ahead will see stable and even reducing prices for the 3 main vine fruits but firmer prices for some of the tree fruits such as prunes, figs and dates where availability is limited.