The lime market has risen significantly this week. As you can see below in the Mexican Lime Crossings chart below, volumes have fallen week over week from 748 to 484 to 305 loads crossing on a 21 day look-back. The volume drop this week is primarily due to Mexican growers holding back and not wanting to pick fruit speculating on a higher market to come. There is broad consensus that supplies will be extremely tight by mid-February and prices much higher than today. For this reason growers are not picking 200s/230s which could be picked now in order to pick them later as larger fruit, expecting them to be worth more money. So basically they are trying to pull forward the good market and make the market pay more now due to the anticipated higher market in February. Field price in Mexico nearly doubled this week and the US market is trying to adjust to the Mexican buy price. There could be a surge of lime volume if growers decide to unleash the fruit they are holding back due to concern on condition or if rain is forecast or just wanting to cash in on the market they have pushed up. Be prepared for a few short term dips and rises in the spot market but a generally higher market than today by mid-February. Organic limes have actually had a much more stable market than conventional the past year. There are 1,854 stores on ad on limes this week at an average retail price of $0.24 per unit. This is down from 2,196 stores last week. There are 57 stores on organic ads at an average retail of $0.50.
Mango Crop Update
We are in week 2 now. Arrival volumes have been very stable this week and the last two weeks, approx. ~1.5 million boxes, yet the market has been rising due to a very high level of retail promotion around the New Year; over 8,000 stores last week. There will be a little dip in arrival volume to ~1.2 million boxes next week due to the packing slowdown that happened in Peru over the New Year break. Volume will improve for week 4 arrival and then the real peak of Peru arrivals will be weeks 5,6,7 and maybe 8.. See the Arrival Volume Chart below for our forecasted volumes for Ataulfo and Round mangos broken down by country and week. Peru sizing has shifted larger as you can see the Peru Round Mango Sizing chart below now peaking on 9s, then 8s on our manifests. Sizes 10s and 12s have fallen off tremendously from the main region of Piura, but when the Motupe and Olmos regions start in a couple of weeks we expect to see more 10s getting packed. We don't expect many 12s this season from Peru.
Many importers including ourselves are in a tight spot on supplies until week 4 or 5 arrival due to the high demand and tight supplies, just trying to cover contracts and ad commitments with regular customers. One opportunity in a market like this could be to sell organic mangoes. Organics are not undersupplied like the conventional. The organic market is not nearly as large as conventional and the organic supplies are enough to cover it with a little bit of excess fruit available at the moment.
Peru Kent quality and flavor has been fantastic as it is every year. You cannot go wrong promoting this fruit. Consumers will want more when they taste it. Please book ads for loading week 5, 6, 7. 8s are projected to be our most available size to book for ads at that time.
Weather in Peru is hot but cloudy. Growers are concerned about possible early rains that could cut the season short. This has not happened yet but the weather pattern is concerning. If rains do come in the next 3 weeks or so before the peak packing ends, we could see a severe shortage on round mangoes in early March. We expect it to be tight in early March regardless, but early rains in Peru would make a shortage really acute. I would advise retailers to get Mexican Honey mangoes (Ataulfos) into the plans for late February and plan promotions in March to counteract the lower supply of rounds we are forecasting.
We are forecasting Mexico to ship similar volumes to last year at the start of the season only based on the trend of recent years. Beware of this early Mexican fruit in January. It could be immature and never ripen properly. We will not pack fruit that early but expect to start the first week of February. I am not highly confident in this Mexican forecast because of the out-of-season rains that happened back in November. If quality turns out to be problematic the Mexican volume might pull back from this forecast.
Stores on ad on conventional mangos decreased from 8,093 stores to 6,935 stores on ad for the week ending today. Weighted average retail price is $0.94 per piece. Mangos remained in the top 10 most promoted fruits tied for 7th place with clementines this week. See the USDA Data on Retail Mango Ads chart below for detailed data by geographic region of the country. Stores on ad on organic mangoes fell drastically from 1,028 stores to 13 stores at an average price of $1.50 per piece.