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Orange prices are currently high across many markets, for a variety of reasons depending on the locations. The popular citrus fruit is traditionally in high demand in the winter seasons on the Northern Hemisphere due to its health benefits, such as the high levels of vitamin C it contains. Due to the hot temperatures and droughts in growing countries such as Spain and Italy, for instance, there are currently gaps in supply on the markets, which has led to higher prices, particularly in Europe. The prices are further pushed up by a lack of larger sizes, also due to the heat this summer.

Netherlands: Positive market development for oranges
The situation in the orange market can be described as good at the moment, according to a Dutch importer. “The beginning was a bit stiff, but the disappearance of the last South African oranges on the market and the colder weather has positively influenced the market. Prices are at a level between 13 and 15 euros for the larger sizes, but medium-sized oranges are also well paid at 11-13 euros. The supply is not too great, which increases demand. Egyptian oranges are not on the market yet, but I don’t expect low prices from those either this season.”

Another importer also confirms the good demand for oranges. “Hand oranges are mainly medium sizes 60-70-80-90, the larger sizes are still very limited in availability. We expect the first Salustianas from Spain next week. We expect the market to remain stable from Spain in the coming weeks.”

Germany: Varied supplies of oranges on market
A wholesaler reports that there are currently certain gaps in the supply of Spanish oranges. “There is very little availability of oranges of the seasonal main variety Navelina, especially in calibres 1 and 2, so the larger sizes. From calibre 3, on the other hand, the fruits are available in sufficient quantities.”

Meanwhile, Valencia Late, Midknight and Delta Seedless were still available from South Africa and were primarily purchased for juice production. Their presence was limited. The first Turkish Washington Navel entered the market, but they generated limited attention.

Italian Navelina had a complementary status, the untreated fruits cost between € 1.40 and 1.75 per kg. Overall, the wet and cold weather had improved the accommodation possibilities on several occasions. However, this rarely had an impact on valuations. Instead, the sellers were mostly able to confirm their previous demands. The first Spanish Cara Cara are expected at the end of the week, and the Italian blood orange campaign will also start soon with the first batches of Moro.

France: Lack of volume on the market leads to sustained prices
Sales are not very dynamic despite winter temperatures. The supplies of imported oranges from further afield, particularly those coming from South Africa, are currently ending. We then find on the market the origins of the northern hemisphere such as Spain and Portugal. This campaign is characterized by a lack of volume on the market, which leads to sustained prices. “However, the demand, even in the face of a more limited supply, is not there,” says an importer at Rungis.

In terms of quality, Portuguese and Spanish oranges are very good this year. The Maltese from Tunisia, should arrive around January 10 but the 2023 harvest should show a decline of 30 to 40 %.

Belgium: Demand towards holidays good, but supply limited
As the weather turns colder and we head towards the end of the year, demand for oranges, and in fact all citrus, is growing again in Belgium. “We notice that it is traditionally a good period for citrus. They are obviously excellent for the necessary vitamins with these cold days and people always seem to want to look for a bit of summer with citrus around this time anyway,” says a Belgian trader. “However, the supply is somewhat disappointing. South Africa has gradually disappeared from the market and from Spain, due to the summer’s drought, far fewer volumes are coming our way. Moreover, it has also caused the sizes to be a bit smaller than other years. The good demand does result in reasonable prices at the moment.”

Italy: High temperatures and droughts affect orange production
“The sale of oranges is minimal both in Italy and abroad, mainly due to the weather conditions and thus the absence of winter temperatures. At the moment, out of five pallets of orders, four are for clementines and only one for oranges. A lack of enthusiasm that leads to prices being almost the same as for clementines, compared to the classic difference of about 0.20 €/kg. Demand is expected to pick up again starting in January, just as has been happening for some years now.“ This was reported by a company in Apulia that processes and markets citrus fruit.

As far as Sicily is concerned, while the campaign for blood oranges, with prices ranging from 0.45 to 0.60 €, started a few weeks ago, a distinction must be made for the red variety. “The blood orange campaign will in fact officially start on 19 December, with the harvest and marketing of the Moro,” a producer says. “The pigmentation of our product is linked to the temperature range. In this period, we have had very hot days and, only a few days ago, we had a temperature range suitable for the fruit to ripen. So making price forecasts now is still impossible. The market for the Sicilian blood orange, especially the PGI orange, is international. We want to increase market share in Europe: France, Germany, Switzerland. Once we have consolidated these positions, we will be ready to conquer other non-European markets as well.”

Another Sicilian producer says: “The citrus campaign is 15 days late, due to the high temperatures recorded up to 20 days ago. The summer drought has resulted in citrus fruits being of medium-small size. In terms of marketing, we started the campaign for red-fleshed Tarocco oranges in week 49/50, with volumes 25% lower. In a situation of crisis and price increases in every part of the production chain, we are working to find the right balance between a higher remuneration for production and an effective collaboration with retailers, with a view to enhancing Italian production. It is not easy, because unlike competitor citrus-producing countries like Spain, in Italy agricultural companies cannot avail themselves of any support on the side of energy price increases.”

Spain: Orange production down 19.9%, still most popular citrus
Oranges will experience the greatest decrease of the citrus range, with declines of 19.9% over the previous campaign and 15.7% when compared to the average of the last five campaigns. The excessive rainfall during the flowering and setting phases of the fruit, the extremely high temperatures in later stages, and the restrictions on irrigation, particularly in Andalusia, the main orange growing area where the drop in production will be of 30%, are determinants of this low production. Nevertheless, oranges will be the most produced citrus as usual, with 3,010,491 tons, approximately 50.4% of the total citrus production. 75% of oranges are within the Navel group.

The orange campaign started a little later than usual, with a clearer market for fruit from the southern hemisphere compared to last season. The drought has brought a significant amount of small sizes, causing the big calibers (1 and 2) to be the most desired and the best paid. There is a lot of demand for sizes 1 and 2, which are making much higher prices than small and medium-sized oranges. In the month of November there were still stocks of overseas oranges, mainly oranges for juice, which hindered the Spanish exports somewhat, except for large sizes, while table oranges stocks have been ‘cleaner’ compared to the past year. Now in December, the presence of oranges from the Southern Hemisphere is no longer noticeable.

Egypt: Production and quality of oranges up this year
This season’s volumes are higher than last year, with an increase of at least 8%. The quality is really good. There aren’t any big quantities of large sized fruits, small and medium sizes are more present. For oranges, there is demand for large sizes coming from Russia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brazil, Vietnam, UK, Poland, Netherlands, and small orders from China. Demand for medium sizes is mainly from the Middle East, India, and African countries. For small sizes, there is interest from the Maldives and Mauritius. Egyptian production this year has achieved a substantial quality improvement, especially due to the cooler weather during September and October compared to the same period last year. The weather has reduced the exposure to insects and significantly and naturally improved the quality of products, their aesthetics, and taste.

China: Weather affects yields and taste
Weather conditions, in particular drought, caused fruit trees to suffer and has diminished yields of oranges in China. As a result prices are 10 % to 20% higher than last year. Another side effect is that some of the fruit tastes sweeter than in previous, less dry, seasons. The yield has decreased, but the quality increased. In other regions, including Chongqing, the harvest has been plentiful.

China’s orange production has grown from 2.3 million hectares in 2016 to 2.7 million hectares in 2020.  According to the World Citrus Organization, China is the world’s third-largest orange producer with 7.5 million metric tons in the 2021/22 citrus season. China is also the largest Asian citrus importer at 520 thousand metric tons. A new development in the international market is that Iran’s Northern province plans to start citrus exports to China.

A set of challenges are resulting in low productivity and stagnated return on investment generate by citrus production. These include insufficient high-end citrus varieties, few products on the market to meet different taste preferences, single marketing channels, underdeveloped fresh-keeping technology and supply chains resulting in a high rate of citrus damage and waste, low degree of planting standardization and weak awareness of ecological agriculture and increased planting costs.

North America: Steady supplies and strong prices for Floridian oranges
Supplies of oranges continue to be steady out of Florida. “We’ve got plenty of early and mid-season and Valencia oranges this year,” says one grower-shipper, adding that supplies of juice oranges look similar to this time last year.

He also notes that the season started on time this year for Florida. “Then we had the two hurricanes (Hurricane Nicole and Hurricane Ian) and the rain events that interrupted our start – they did slow things down a bit for those weeks and the weeks after,” says the grower-shipper. However, he notes that given the impending forecast, they were able to pick ahead and still maintained fruit supplies.

As for fruit specifications, he also notes that colour on the oranges is improving. “Our early Hamlin oranges always start with poor colour but currently we have pretty good colour on them,” he says. As for sizing, it’s peaking on 100s with the average run being approximately 50 percent 100s, 15 percent 80s, 25 percent 125s and the balance is 138s.

Along with Florida shipping oranges, California is also shipping navel oranges right now (a product that doesn’t necessarily compete with juice oranges). Mexico has also started production. “However, we haven’t really felt that yet – they’re mostly on the West Coast,” says the grower-shipper.

Meanwhile pricing has been stronger on oranges this season which has affected demand somewhat. “The pricing will is likely to stay on this level because the juice market is short on oranges,” he adds.

Looking ahead, Valencias are on track to start between mid-February and early March – however this year is going to take a bit more planning. “It’s going to a bit tricky because the early mid-seasons are going to finish beforehand so we’re trying to figure out now how we close that gap,” says the grower-shipper. “We think we may have some solutions to run the mid seasons through early February and switch to Valencias probably in the second week of February. The season for us goes until mid to end of July and we’ll probably end right on time.”

Argentina: Exports of Argentine oranges to Russia fall by 69%
Exports of Argentine oranges have experienced a significant decline in 2022. According to the latest report from the Citrus Association of the Argentine Northwest (ACNOA), with data up to week 40, the country had exported a total of 60,328 tons – 37 tons in the last week analyzed, in which the peak of shipments this season had been widely exceeded -, registering a contraction in exports of 22.10% compared to 2021, and very far from the almost 161,000 tons that, according to FAOSTAT data, it exported in 2010.

Europe has been the main destination for Argentine oranges this year, concentrating 50.5% of shipments to date, but with a drop of 19.14% compared to shipments in 2021. Latin America received 35.6% of the oranges marketed to date, acquiring 37.92% more fruit than the region bought in 2021; the logistical complications to export the fruit would be behind these larger shipments to the region. In third place is Russia, which, with a 7.3% share, registered a year-on-year decrease of 69.10%. The Argentine citrus industry has also suffered the consequences of the war in Ukraine in one of its main markets in recent years. Russia as a country previously ranked as the third most important destination, only behind Europe and Latin America, which, let us remember, are blocs each made up of more than twenty countries.

The rest of the destinations for Argentine oranges received the remaining 4,000 tons, although jointly experiencing a decrease of 60%; in the case of China and Hong Kong, shipments were reduced entirely.

The drop in exports this year also coincides with the contraction of the area planted with citrus in the important Argentine citrus province of Tucumán, which, as INTA has recently revealed, has fallen after years of constant expansion. Specifically, the area devoted to citrus cultivation registered a decrease of 3,878 hectares compared to the previous campaign, corresponding to a reduction of 7.46%.

“The causes of this decrease could be related to the drop in profitability experienced by the activity during the last two campaigns, mainly due to low prices of fruit for industry, lower volumes of fresh fruit exported, gradual increase in production costs, competition from other markets and the national and international socioeconomic context,” summarizes the INTA in its report.

Australia: Trade agreements boosts export opportunities for Australian oranges to India
Australian orange growers were given a boost with the announcement that tariffs to India for citrus will be cut in half later this month, following the finalisation of the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA). Peak industry body, Citrus Australia, noted that India is a key focus for the country’s growers, with exports of Australian citrus as high as 7800 tonnes to the country in the past. That number is set to rise in the coming years – and the tariff reduction will help drive growth opportunities by making Australian citrus more competitive against other suppliers including South Africa. This agreement will allow Australian citrus exporters to export oranges and mandarins to India under a tariff-reduced quota system. The current 30 per cent tariff will reduce to 15 per cent once the agreement enters into force. The reduced tariff applies to the first 13,700 tonnes annually. The quota system will be managed by the Australian government and more details will be provided to the industry when available.

Overall, Australian orange production is valued at $437.6 million for the year ending June 2021, according to the Australian Horticulture Statistics Handbook from Hort Innovation, with 473,697 tonnes produced (39% sent to be processed, predominantly for juicing). Australia is a net exporter of fresh oranges and growth in volumes over the last three years has an average of 187,247 tonnes exported per year. Japan is the biggest single destination for Australian orange exports (37,625 tonnes), followed by Hong Kong (33,587) and China (31,684).

source : news 

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