Chilean clementines start with strong markets

04/27/2012 01:53:00 PM
Kelli White

Chilean clementine prices have started high but won’t stay there, sources say.

Mark Greenberg, president and chief executive officer of St. Laurent, Quebec-based Fisher Capespan, said Chile and South Africa has had a strong start to the season, like last year. Early prices will be quite high into the third week of June, but then with more regular arrivals and larger volumes, pricing will even out.

“Everyone is facing increased energy costs. Transportation costs are up due to fuel, like is the case everywhere,” Greenberg said.

Matt Gordon, Chilean import manager at Fort Piece, Fla.-based DNE World Fruit Sales, said, “Everyone expects ocean freight to be up this year.”

Steven Marinello, director of imports for Seald Sweet International, Vero Beach, Fla., agreed.

“Labor costs in Chile are up and the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar is down, which challenges us,” Marinello said.

“The beginning of the market will be active, pricewise,” Marinello said.

In mid-April, terminal prices in New York for 5-pound containers of size 20 clementines were $8-9, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Shipments were light.

Despite the grim outlook on price increases, Greenberg said during the early season, especially the first three weeks, prices will be higher but then will settle down a bit.

“Prices will be competitive,” Greenberg said.

Another situation that will affect prices is the shortened California deal.

“Usually California carries longer,” said James Milne, category director of citrus at The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia. “This will affect prices.”



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