South African Valencias will finish earlier this season as volumes are lower than normal. The crop suffered damage in the northern production areas of the country due the hail and drought conditions. Late rains in the northern parts also resulted in unexpected size increases for grapefruit, navels and valencias.
“The general fruit sizing was much bigger than what we predicted and this skewed the normal size distribution of our fruit,” explained Cobus van Graan from FruitOne. “What you see from the market information is that Europe has been over supplied with larger fruit and clients requesting smaller sized fruit to balance the offering.”
“Clients in the EU require a range of sizes and since exporters delivered a lot of big fruit during the beginning of the season, now smaller fruit that would normally be destined for other markets such as the Middle East, is being redirected to Europe. There is very little fruit going to the Middle East at the moment resulting in unprecedented high prices for Valencias in Middle East. Normally the price for Valencias in the Middle East will commence at normal levels and reduce gradually, the inverse has been true this season.”
“The result of this has been more stability in fixed price markets, less price fluctuation and hence “surprises”, according to Cobus. Importers are thus more confident on the market potential and sales through the channel at workable selling prices.
Russia has been under pressure as this market which traditionally likes the big sizes, have been over-supplied due to the generally larger fruit sizing of navels and valencias. There was also Egyptian fruit on the Russian market very late so the window for South African fruit was reduced.