Weather conditions render proper drying impossible
The prune market is confronted with massive challenges this season. Producers in Chile, which is the most important supplier for the EU, are hit particularly hard. Problem is that the crop was only half the size as expected and that the weather was too wait during drying. Strong rain made it next to impossible to dry the fruits a level ranging below the maximum of 32%. Production also falls well short of expectations in California and in Argentina. Prospects are also far from encouraging in Europe, where sudden frosts caused considerable damage in France in April.
Prices have doubled
As Catz International reports the situation has prompted nearly all suppliers to refrain from issuing offers and reference prices. Producers in Chile are only able to supply regular customers this season. While pitted US prunes were still trading at EUR 3.30/kf FCA Spain in April they have now doubled. Prices have taken a similar turn in other producing countries. Production declines are, however, not the only problem. The lack of containers is rendering exports highly complicated as shipments are more expensive now and considerable delays are being reported.