California Harvest Update

November 7, 2017

Anderson Exports is a Dried Fruit & Nut Agency in Northern California. We specialize in sourcing the best ingredients from California and the rest of the world.


U.S. raisin prices have remained high in recent weeks as U.S. raisin production levels slump to an 11-year low. The trend in recent years of farmers pulling out raisins vines to plant almond trees and two rain events during the harvest were key drivers of the especially small crop. Severe heat during the summer months and smaller bunch counts provided further headwinds for the current crop. Lead times to production can be up to a few weeks due to the harvest. These conditions and strong demand seen throughout the harvest indicates U.S. raisin prices may rise throughout the new year as supply decreases.

South African raisins are now in full bloom and weather has been cooperative, with no damaging rain or hail so far. The 2018 crop is expected to be strong with early shipments beginning in February.

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Prices have come up slightly over the summer but it is also one of the busier times of year so this is somewhat natural. We expect the possibility of the USDA / Cranberry Marketing Committee limits on 2017/2018 production to put positive pressure on pricing though we expect little price impact over the next few months. The Canadian crop is expected to be approximately 20% smaller than last year which will help lift prices in the near-term. Additionally, the U.S. crop is looking to be only slightly smaller than last year which provides further upside to prices.


At this point in the California walnut harvest, it has become clear that the objective estimate of a 5% decline in crop size from last year is extremely conservative. Processors believe the crop could actually be down as much as 12% due to severe sunburn and other weather related issues. Suppliers are working to meet their customers in-shell and shelled needs with a much smaller than expected crop. Many processors are hesitant to offer until all of the nuts have come in off their trees before making offers in order to ensure quality and that key customer needs are met. As a result of these developments, prices continue to firm.


The market for cashew kernels has been quiet recently, with prices continuing to go lower. U.S. demand has been softening as some roasters have already satisfied their needs through December. European demand has also been weak. Buyers are hesitant to take substantial positions in a declining price environment. There has been some speculation that prices will continue to decline until W320 reaches $4.50 / lb. Recent prices for top packers has been in the range of $4.80 - $4.85 / lb. FOB. With cashew prices continuing to fall, we suggest waiting for the market to stabilize before booking forward contracts.


Brazil sugar exports are expected to hit a record high as production expectations are revised further upward in spite of lower exports to China. Trade flows for Brazilian sugar continued to shift following China’s decision in May to increase its tariff on out-of-quota sugar imports from 50% to 95% from Brazil, Thailand, and Australia. As a result, exports to China fell precipitously while exports to Bangladesh and the Middle East rose. We are well-positioned to offer competitive pricing on White, Refined Cane Sugar ICUMSA 45 from Brazil and welcome your inquiries.

Click here to read the October USDA World Markets and Trade Update covering Almonds, Walnuts, and Pistachios.

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