Plenty of Raisins in the Market Drive Prices Down

raisins Sasajo/Adobe Stock

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jara Zicha, market analyst at Mintec.

Raisin prices have been trending lower since the beginning of the year, on the back of large global supplies.

Prices have been falling since September last year and are currently down by around 20%. In fact, prices have been falling since 2012, with the exception of 2015. In order to understand what has been driving prices in the market we must look at both the two main types of dried grape, raisin and sultana, and the major producers, California and Turkey.

Raisin production in California for the current 2016/2017 season is forecast at 315,000 tonnes. Although this is down 10% year-over-year, large carry-over stocks have boosted the total supply, which is forecast at 447,000 tonnes, just 1% below the five-year average.

For Turkey, raisin and sultana production for 2016/2017 is projected at 300,000 tonnes, up 36% y-o-y. Production this year is returning to normal levels following lower crop seen last year, when vines were damaged by frost in spring and hail in the summer. With the carry-over stock from last season estimated at 6,000 tonnes, this season’s total supply is calculated at 306,000 tonnes, 4% above the five-year average. As a result of the large crop, prices in Turkey have fallen almost 30% since the beginning of the year. Low prices for dried grapes in Turkey have also deterred buyers from other markets, dragging down raisin prices in the U.S.

Elsewhere, a bumper crop is also expected in Iran, up 8% y-o-y at 150,000 tonnes. Overall, global dry grape production for 2016/2017 is forecast up 5% y-o-y, at 1.25 million tonnes.

While prices have largely been affected by the supply situation, exchange rates have also had an impact. Over the past two and a half years, the U.S. dollar has generally strengthened against the Turkish Lira, Euro and other major currencies. This has made U.S. raisins less competitive in the global market, and U.S. farmers simply have had no other choice but to lower their prices.

As you can see, there are plenty of “raisins” why we are seeing lower prices in the dried grape market.

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First Voice

  1. Marvin Horne:

    Your projection about California production is out of line. Thompson seedless raisin variety was and is being pulled out in record numbers. California will be lucky to produce 200,000 tons (2016-2017) this year and even less next year.

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