Market Report June 2021
The market in general
The severe imbalance in the global logistics system, steeply rising costs for various auxiliary and working materials (tin sheet metal, glass, wood and cardboard, energy) and a shortage of supply, especially for early delivery dates, are shaping the market. The steady trend is being fundamentally supported by sharply increasing prices for almost all agricultural commodities. The market is still far from returning to the efficiency of pre-coronavirus times and there is also heightened uncertainty for the season now underway in the northern hemisphere. Forward-looking, long-term security of supply and close coordination along the supply chains are imperative.
Market Infos and recommendations
International Transport Chains
The global network of container shipping is still extremely strained. Fixed bookings are being postponed or even cancelled, ships rerouted, containers spontaneously transshipped, ports are congested and arrival dates amended several times. This poses a great challenge to our procurement managers and logistics specialists and we are pleased to have the skills and experience required for this on our team. The further increases in container freight rates are a real body blow. Those who paid USD 1,000 per 20 ft container from Asia half a year ago are now paying five times that amount. We are doing everything in our power to fulfil your contracts on time.
The price increase typical for the first quarter started to turn around in March. Since then, the price of skipjack has been decreasing in both Bangkok (currently approx. USD 1,325/t) and in particular in Manta (USD 1,350/t). Good catches on both sides of the Pacific, combined with very weak demand in the last two quarters from both the retail trade and unchanged also from the food service sector, are the reason behind the trend. Rising costs, particularly for bunker fuel oil for fishing boats, as well as vegetable oil and packaging are acting as a counterbalance. Demand is picking up as the seasonal large orders from the retail trade are now being placed and shipments to the food service sector are increasing again, too. Prices are low and we recommend that you cover your needs in the long term. The demand for MSC-certified fish continues to rise, but it can be covered by an equally increasing supply; there are however only limited amounts of goods available benefiting from EU tariff preferences.
We have been reporting the poor supply of raw material in the most important country of origin, Thailand, and high prices on the global market already now for the past two years. This still holds true, and brief seasonal upswings in yield have not changed this. The situation can only be remedied in the coming winter harvest starting in October. Until then, pineapples will remain scarce and expensive. The supply is “hand to mouth”. We strongly advise that you cover your needs until the end of the year and make delivery arrangements well in advance.
The dire consequences of the coronavirus pandemic in India have adversely affected all areas of life, particularly agriculture and therefore also the current mango harvest. Originally positive prospects must thus be revised. The market will need to wait and see. Supplies of mango pulp and chutney are delayed and only expected in the next few weeks. Owing to the situation, rising prices are to be expected for both pulp and chutneys.
Peaches and apricots
Several days of frost in Greece in mid and late April have halved expected yields, and the smallest harvest since 1988 is anticipated for the EU as a whole. In competition with the fresh market, prices are rising considerably and added to that there are high costs for auxiliary and operating materials. The situation is similar for dried apricots in Turkey, where frost has caused some damage to the blossom. Initial offers were quickly withdrawn, and significantly firmer prices must be expected.
The transfer of seedlings to the fields has been completed in the Mediterranean countries, frost damage has been limited and water reservoirs are well-filled. Even more than last year’s 39 million tons are anticipated globally in 2021. However, the upcoming season will enter an empty market and demand remains extraordinarily high. Tomato prices agreed between factories and growers in Portugal, Spain and Italy are therefore high and stable. The sharp increase in costs for energy, packaging material (aseptic bags, plastic and steel barrels, tin sheet metal, wood and cardboard) and transport is having a significant impact on market prices which are set to rise further. We do not expect any easing this year and recommend that you cover your needs up to and including the third quarter of 2022. It is also worth mentioning that although raw material prices seem high, they are nowhere near record levels if we look back at the last 10 years.
It was also too cold in April in China and the harvest got under way with a two-week delay. The typical harvest period of around 100 days has thus been shortened and last year’s already low yields of 50,000 t will be fallen short of. Demand is high and the new harvest is urgently awaited as stocks are depleted. In addition, production and shipping costs are pushing prices up further. Special attention must be paid to availability and securing supplies over the next twelve months. As in previous years, thinner calibres are in short supply for centre cuts, both in cans and for frozen asparagus. Peru is still offering only a limited alternative supply with just a few containers.
Seedlings are in the fields in Turkey. The weather has been favourable in recent weeks and flowering is progressing undisturbed. Following initial concerns, it finally rained enough in February and March. From the traditional area of Manisa, cultivation has very clearly been pushed further east into Anatolia by cotton and corn. Higher transport costs for raw material are being incurred and the sharp increase in costs for tin sheet metal, energy and packaging, as well as for sea freights from Turkey, are having a considerable impact on prices. The Turkish lira however, which continues to lose value, is largely compensating for this and initial quotations are approximately in line with the levels seen last year.
The weak start to the harvest in China led to higher prices of raw material in the short term. However, there now appears to be a turnaround in the trend and prices should fall and stay low until the peak of the harvest in August. This is in part also due to relatively low demand compared to the special situation last year. Supply is also picking up again in Thailand, however, there as well as here the high production costs (tin sheet metal, energy, etc.) and, in particular, the extraordinary level of container freight rates are inflating the cost calculation. Despite this, we recommend taking advantage of the low raw goods price now and covering your needs in the long term.
The harvest in Peru is under way; strong yields and good quality are expected. There is surplus supply following poor demand globally due to coronavirus, particularly from the takeaway sector. The opening prices from the new harvest continue to be low for both conventional and certified organic goods. We recommend that you cover your needs in the long term.
HENRY LAMOTTE FOOD GMBH
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