"Abundance" of easy peelers in U.S. market

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October has brought with it an "abundance" of easy peelers in the U.S. market, with huge volumes of Chilean fruit brought in over recent weeks.

In a market report, Capespan North American CEO Mark Greenberg said that while the availability of Peruvian and South African fruit has declined, Chilean exporters have since week 35 loaded substantial late mandarin volumes to both coasts.

He explained these loadings have been heavy both in relative terms - compared to the same period last year - as well as in absolute terms.

"The challenging part of it is that the departures have been back-end loaded: From Week 28 to 33, Chile shipped 50% of the volume that it shipped over the same period last year," he said.

"But between Weeks 34 and 39, Chile shipped twice the tonnage it shipped in the same period in 2017. Through Week 39, Chile has shipped a total of almost 86 000 metric tons of late mandarins to the USA or 24.8% more than last season over the same period."

The increase was spread between boast coasts, he added. He expected a steady and continuing stream of easy peeler arrivals from Chile to continue through week 43 and beyond. 

Fruit from the three Southern Hemisphere supplying countries are around US$28-30 for standard sizes in 10 x 3 bags, although some sales and even lower.

Looking ahead, Greenberg said the market is unlikely to strengthen over the next few weeks, with Chile forecasting some 100,000MT of late mandarins this season, almost all of which go to the U.S.

He expected 32,000MT of W. Murcotts to arrive on the East Coast in October, in addition to the "not insubstantial inventories" there are currently in the region.

"For the rest of October, sellers will be focused on getting in front of their inventories with the goal to be out of product by the end of Week 44 when the market is expected to start the transition to domestic and Mediterranean easy peelers," he said.

"That transition will be rapid as the new crop becomes more widely available. Transactional pricing in the market will reflect the collective understanding that there is a lot of fruit to move in the next five weeks."



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