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Dates: price turnaround expected

March 31, 2020 12:07 PM, Der AUDITOR
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TEHRAN. The outbreak of the coronavirus has slashed all hopes in Iran that an upsurge in demand would drive up prices in the run up to Ramadan. Although there is an uptick in demand for nutrients, especially for dates, the prices have so far failed to rise. Traders are, nevertheless, optimistic that the situation may change.

Oversupply keeps prices low

Although dates are considered valuable antioxidants that give the immune system a boost, domestic demand has so far failed to drive up prices. This is largely due to the large production. According to the National Association of Iranian Dates production ranged as high as 1.2 million metric tonnes in 2019/2020, which is a 20% rise over last year. At the same time, prices range 20% lower than last year. Normally around 25%-30% would be exported, but freight transports are a big problem and exports have declined sharply. Normally, there would be a sharp increase in export demand with Ramadan approaching, but the shipping problems related to the spread of the coronavirus have prompted buyers to stop ordering for now.

In the days following the outbreak of the coronavirus in Iran flights were stopped and restrictions on traffic were introduced at the land borders. Although the situation has nominally improved, as negotiations were fruitful in opening up some borders for the traffic, albeit with restrictions, there will most certainly be a long-term impact on date exports. Traders are calling on exporters and economic adviser to redouble their efforts and use all heir capacities. In addition, it is essential that the virus is managed and controlled as well as possible to limit the long-term effects of the virus on the date market.

Prices expected to rise

Mazafati dates have mainly traded in a firm range over the last two weeks. The increase in domestic demand is well balanced by the large supplies and decline in export demand. Traders are, however, convinced that the situation will change over the next few weeks as new solutions will be found to resolve transport issues and Ramadan is approaching.

Mazafati dates, Iran



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