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European market, May 2006 : indicators. Banana, avocado, orange, grapefruit, litchi, mango, pineapple, sea freigh

Imbert E., Delanoue C., Gerbaud P., Paqui T., Bright R.. 2006. Fruitrop (English ed.) (136) : p. 9-18.

Banana: Performance was satisfactory. The average quay price remained comparatively stable in comparison with the position in April and was slightly higher than the 2002/2004 average. Nevertheless, after four months of deficit, cumulated arrivals from Africa and the West Indies returned to an average level with an increase in volumes from Cameroon and Côte d'Ivoire. However, demand was healthy on both the domestic and export markets as supplies of dollar bananas were moderate. Avocado: In spite of very large shipments of 'Hass' from Peru after several months of under-supply, the much-feared 2005 scenario was not repeated. On the one hand, the green avocado market displayed a strong supply deficit (shipments from South Africa were short and Israel was absent from the market) with supplies concentrated on the markets in the northern part of the EU. On the other hand, shipments of South African and Peruvian 'Hass' were distributed in both northern and southern markets and especially in Spain whose season ended early. Volumes and prices rose by 10% and 4% respectively. Orange: Spanish production continued to exert intense pressure with the 'Valencia Late' season starting about a month late, gradually taking over from 'Navelate'. After being disappointing at the beginning of the month, sales were above average at the end. However, both production and import prices remained very low. Other origins remained very limited in this context. Grapefruit: Performance was mediocre with a nearly 30% deficit in market releases and prices 10% down on the three-year average. With the southern hemisphere origins not starting to ship, the market was seriously under-supplied with goods consisting of very mixed quality Mediterranean origin shipments and stocks. Sales were satisfactory-but without enthusiasm-for these limited quantities. Litchi: The Thai litchi marketing season continued in May on the main European Union markets. Shipments by air were gradually replaced by sea freight except for the French market for which both methods continued to be used in parallel. Prices decreased gradually as more fruits arrived in containers but remained at a fairly high level. Mango: The trade context was difficult in May, as it had been in April. The large tonnages that arrived from Peru in the first third of the month were soon replaced by increasing shipments from Côte d'Ivoire, together with fruits from the other origins on the market (Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, Brazil, Guatemala, Costa Rica, etc.). Poor weather and the stepping up of sales of the season's fruits doubtless made mango increasingly difficult to sell. The price ranges broadened steadily, with the minimum falling. Pineapple: The decrease in volumes that started in April continued in May. Less noticeable for 'Sweet' as quantities remained very large, it was considerable for 'Smooth Cayenne'. May was marked above all by a decrease in demand to the benefit of the season's fruits-with increased volumes and falling prices-marking the beginning of the quiet period for pineapple that should continue until at least the end of August. Although supplies of air pineapple continued to be limited, demand was steadier and more firm, allowing operators to make more fluid sales. The 'Victoria' market was seriously affected with the irregular quality of the fruits delivered. Sea freight: The foundation for the resurgence of the reefer sector in the past three years has been the performance of the Spot market in the second quarter of the year. Although with the exception of 2006 Q1 Time Charter Equivalent (TCE) values have been successively higher each year since 2001 it has been the second peak in May that has provided the biggest difference in annual average returns. So what happened this year? Why should the May Spot market have returned so much less compared to the 2003-2005 period? What, if any, are the implications....

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