Clementine movement out of Chile is accelerating, leading to an excellent market. Suppliers expect to have good consistent volumes for several more weeks, with prices to remain elevated during that time. Eventually, the Clementine season will then give way to the W Murcotts which will appear later in the northern summer.
“Movement of clementines from Chile has been very good this season and we expect to have good supply into July,” said Norman Barao of the International Fruit Company. “We have more volume starting to kick in over the next three weeks until the season for the early clementines approaches its end. We will have W Murcotts and then Tangos starting up in August with arrivals expected to begins towards the end of that month and stretch into October.”
“The market has been very good with the past few weeks seeing tight volumes given that we are in a period of peak demand,” he continued. “Prices have been very high and the crop is looking very good. Currently, we are seeing spot market prices for clementines of anywhere between $32 – $34 on size 4s and larger. The arrival of South African citrus is not expected to have an impact as they are shipping mostly Navels.”
Quality of Chile, Uruguay fruit outpacing Peru
Weather conditions in South America have, by and large, presented few problems for citrus growers. In fact, quality is very good, particularly out of Chile and Uruguay. Peru is seeing a few issues though, and therefore imports from that country are sluggish.
“Peru has been having a few problems with the fruit containing too many seeds,” Barao explained. “Therefore not too many have been received this season. This has left open a gap for Chile and Uruguay which are both presenting very good quality, color and BRIX, with levels in the 11, 12 and 13 range.”
“There is a lot of healthy fruit down there at the moment,” he added. “Early varieties have been de-greening before being shipped. During the last couple of weeks, there has been an increase in cool, wet weather, but as yet we have not seen any effects on the fruit.”
Not much change in packaging
Shippers seem to have found the sweet spot when it comes to packaging type and size, with little change in clementine packs.
“The majority of the packaging comprises of the 10x 3lb packs,” Barao said. “Most retailers are sticking with them as they are convenient, good for the fruit and consumers like them.”