U.S. lime market stabilizes after long H1 price spike

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U.S. lime market stabilizes after long H1 price spike

U.S. lime market prices stabilized at the beginning of summer following a large price spike during the first half of the year.

Average prices in March and April around double last year's level, but by late-May they were in line with previous years.

Prices typically see a spike during the first half of the year, but this year the spike started earlier and lasted longer than normal. 

However, prices last year were unusually flat over the period.

Prices in January started off this year at a standard average price of US$18.20 for a 40-pound box, according to the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

By February prices had risen to 26% higher than last year, and by March they were double last year's level at US$46.30 per box. By comparison, March prices in 2016 and 2015 were US$17.50 and US$30.30, respectively.

In April the average price of US$37.10 putting it 115% higher than 2017, but only slightly above the previous two years' levels. The price then began to return to a more normal range, in June reaching US$10.70.

Mexico is almost the sole supplier of limes over the first half of the year, typically responsible for around 98% of the volume. In 2017, Mexico supplied 595,000 metric tons (MT) out of 606,000MT.

From January through May this year, total volumes in the U.S. were only 1% higher year-on-year at 237,000MT, but due to the price spike the total FOB value was a whole 41% greater at US$249 million.

The average per-kilo price over the five-month period was US$1.05 compared to US$0.75 last year. 

U.S. market prices for limes are typically lowest during the summer months, and lower in general during the second half of the year than the first.

(Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics)


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