U.S. soft citrus market filling up as SH supplies increase

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U.S. soft citrus market filling up as SH supplies increase

The U.S. imported soft citrus market pipeline now appears to be filled following a period of undersupply, according to Capespan North America CEO Mark Greenberg. 

The market has seen high prices for the category for several weeks on the back of an early end to the California deal and a slightly later start to Chile's citrus season.

As well as rising volumes of South American fruit over recent weeks, week 24 saw the first arrival of large volumes of South African easy peelers.

"With substantial easy peeler volumes having arrived on the USEC from Chile in Weeks 22 and 23, complemented by Peruvian arrivals, the imported soft citrus pipeline appears to be filled and, for the first time this season, there is some fruit available for trading and spot sales," Greenberg said in a market report.

He said that in week 23 the East Coast was enjoying a stable US$36-38 price level for transactional sales for standard sizes in a 10 x 3 pound bag, stepping down slightly the following week. Program prices are running lower at US$34-36, he said.

But he explained that increased arrivals were not the only factor affecting soft citrus prices.

"The moderating price level is also a function of the start of the summer season with tree fruit, table grapes, watermelons and berries from California, and cherries from Washington, grabbing increased retail shelf space and consumer attention," he said.

He added that while the company doesn't expect to see an East Coast market meltdown for easy peelers, the reality of the increased competition for summer citrus on grocery shelves comes every July.

"With easy peeler arrivals expected to continue from Chile, Peru, South Africa and Uruguay, with imported navels about to make their debut, and with summer fruit only just getting started, the transactional market for easy peelers could well soften to US$34–36 by the end of Week 26," he said.


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