The lime crossings have trended lower, down from 702 loads the previous week to 470 the last 7 days. When the volume drops below 500 loads per week, the market tends to tighten somewhat. It continues to be difficult to predict the immediate future due to the growers speculating, holding back supply and demanding prices higher than the US market wants to pay, so the pressure continues to raise the market. The market is resisting so the process is slow. Obviously the price will rise if the volume continues down. We expect the old crop which is heavy to large sizes to finish up in the next 10 days. The large sizing will then become scarce inverting the price curve so that large fruit becomes more expensive than smaller fruit when the old crop finishes. The new crop will have smaller sizing at the start. In general, lime quality has been fantastic for weeks. Organic limes are getting very tight but we have room in the program for some new business. We still expect to see a tightening of supply in March but the fruit set is looking heavy for April. Please run promo and spot opportunities by us. There are 1,146 stores on ad on limes for the week ending 2/28 at an average retail price of $0.42 per unit and 126 stores on ad at an average of $0.88 per pound. There were 171 stores on organic lime ads at an average retail of $0.48 per unit.
Mango Crop Update
We are in week 9 now. We are heading into the worst 2 weeks of the year (11 and 12) in term of undersupply on round mangos. Honey mangos (Ataulfos) on the other hand are in good supply already and the quality has improved considerably from the start of the season. The month of March is definitely a time to focus on and promote Honey mangos to relieve the pressure on the rounds. Field prices are such that is makes no sense to pack Kents in Peru to speculate on an $8.50 to $9.00 market 3 weeks from now. USDA inspectors should all be out of Peru by March 15th so arrivals should wind down as seen in the Arrival Volume Chart below. The trucker strike ended but forced container shipments to fall from 129 to 33 containers last week which is week 10 arrival. You can see the Ocean Container Arrivals by Port chart to see where the Peru fruit is arriving. With only 9 containers arriving to the west coast next week we expect that market to strengthen considerably to catch up to the East coast market on price, but demand is dying as it needs to due to the lack of product. We are not quoting prices publicly, just taking care of commitments but the FOBs are $7.50-$8.00 in TX and $8.50-$9.50 in NJ.
Mexico will be the driver of the Market now representing the majority of the supply going forward. The supply problem is only on rounds. The yellow highlighted cells in the Arrival Volume Chart for weeks 9 and 10 are a forecast based on feedback from our growers/packers. The weeks 11-16 forecast for Mexico is a 5 year average volume by week. Because most packers/exporters in southern Mexico buy a large percentage of what they pack from small growers who play in the local market, they are at the mercy of the field prices. Field prices are rising even as volume picks up because more pack houses are certifying every day. We are up to 30 HWT pack houses operating now and all are running at very low capacity. US importers are pressuring their packers to turn on the supply since Peru is winding down and prices are sky high. This competition of export pack houses along with the local market buyers who take the whole field with no quality or phytosanitary headaches, are driving the field prices ever higher. We do not see relief at the field level until March 15th when most growers in Oaxaca consider their main production to be ready to start picking. It takes about a week for that fruit to hit the border and then another week to start filling the US pipeline, so we don’t see the market getting into healthy supplies on rounds until the end of March. Unfortunately this shortage and high price will incentivize some growers/packers to pick fruit prematurely resulting in fruit cutting very light yellow and that will never ripen properly. Be very careful with round fruit picked in early March in Michoacán because the fruit is really delayed and the weather is colder than normal. Conscientious importers should not accept this immature fruit but unfortunately some will.
Stores on ad on conventional mangos increased from 3,974 stores to 4,329 stores on ad for the week ending 2/28. Weighted average retail price is $0.90 per piece. This drop in average retail is due to the ads on Honey Mangoes with smaller sizing. The USDA unfortunately does not separate round and yellow mangoes in the retail ad data. 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 decreased from 282 stores to 184 stores at an average price of $1.61 per piece.
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