The dried apricot market has firmed considerably since prices bottomed in April last year, rising by USD 1,550/MT (+54%) to USD 4,440/MT on 19th May. Since the start of the year, the Mintec price of Turkish dried apricots (CFR UK) has risen by 10% in dollar terms, despite the depreciation of the Turkish lira. The Turkish currency weakened from 7.3 to the dollar in the week of 6th January to 8.59 in the first week of June.
The dried apricot market has been recently driven by concerns over spring frosts in Turkey, supply tightness and rising freight costs.
Supplies in Turkey are presently tight, especially on smaller sized fruit, according to trade sources. Farmers have been withholding some of their stock since frosts hit Malatya, Turkey, in the last week of March. With temperatures reportedly dropping as low as -5°C in some apricot orchards, the anticipation of a frost-induced crop damage supported the market since the last week of March.
At the time of frosts, most apricot orchards in Malatya, a key apricot producing region in Turkey, were in full bloom, after the flowering came earlier than normal this year due to warm weather in February and early March. Frosts were accompanied by snow in some of the growing areas.
Although some crop losses continue to be expected from the sub-zero conditions, many market participants believe a production in the region of 100,000 tonnes could be achieved this year, as the frost damage was not as severe as initially feared. This has been recently confirmed by the INC (International Nut and Dried Fruit Council), which estimates the size of the 2021/22 Turkish dried apricot output at 100,000 tonnes, an increase of 11% on last year’s 90,000 tonnes.
Prices in the EU are being further impacted by an increase in ocean freight rates and delays to shipments.