The new crop of Chilean products is just around the corner. For the second year in a row, we are seeing that many growers are changing the varieties of grapes. The planted surface of traditional grapes like Flame and Thompson is expected to decrease in the next couple of years. This has a direct impact on the raisin business. Chile is also facing some challenges due to droughts in the past couple of months.
The harvest of the grapes started in the Northern part of Chile. The flame variety is the first variety that will be harvested, Thompsons variety will follow a few weeks later.
The availability of raw material varies depending on the variety and production areas. There has been a decrease of planted surface of the flame variety, which already resulted in increasing prices of raw material and a strong demand. For the Thompsons variety we expect a stable year, with good availability of raw material and stable prices. Last year we’ve seen a downward trend throughout the year.
We think that the droughts that Chile had been facing in the past couple of months haven’t had a major effect on the production of grapes, although certain areas may have been affected.
Chilean exporters project a harvest around 70,000 MT with good quality fruit and smaller sizes compared to last year. This is good news for most exporters as the demand is currently bigger for medium size raisins.
The grapes are currently being dried and will soon arrive to the processing facilities, where production will start in the next couple of days. New crop shipments will start in March.
The harvest will start in the second week of February. Crop is slightly smaller compared to last year, with an estimated volume of 65,000 mt. Frosts have affected the crop. The carryover of the 2019 crop will be limited, so there will be less fruit available this year. ChilePrunes estimated that on 31th December 2019 packers had a volume of 18,500 MT in their warehouses, which is 18% lower compared to last year’s ending stocks. At least 70% of this volume is already committed.
The first reports indicate that the sizes will be larger, so smaller sizes tend to be more expensive.
Weather circumstances haven’t been ideal in the past couple of months. Frosts, lack of rain and unusual high temperatures have affected the outcome of the crop.
The availability of prunes in other origins will also influence the price. We have been informed that US and France still have enough inventories, while Argentina has reported to expect a smaller crop; 15.000-20.000mt less than a regular crop.