Raisin Situation and Outlook In Selected Countries
|Selected country raisin and sultana exports in 1997/98 are forecast to rise to about 407,000 metric tons, 2 percent above the previous years shipments. Increases in exports from Turkey, Greece, Mexico, and the United States will likely more than offset lower shipments from South Africa, Chile and Australia. South Africas raisin exports in 1997/98 are forecast to decrease by 31 percent, based on a significantly smaller raisin pack. Chiles exports in 1997/98 are forecast to fall 19 percent, also based on a smaller raisin pack. Greeces 1997/98 raisin exports, on the other hand, are forecast to increase 28 percent. U.S. exports, in 1997/98 are forecast to rise 2 percent based on higher than expected exports to date. Japan and the United Kingdom are the top two U.S. markets. U.S. ending stocks for 1997/98 are forecast to increase sharply based on the larger raisin production.|
Southern Hemisphere Countries
Production of raisins in marketing year 1997/98 (harvest begins in March 1998) is forecast at 35,000 tons, up 41 percent from the previous year, based on expected higher yields. The crop quality is expected to be good due to favorable harvesting and drying conditions.
In 1998/99 (corresponds to 1997/98 in the tables in the statistical section) Australian exports of raisins/sultanas are forecast at 14,800 tons, 2 below last year's shipments percent and 36 percent below the volume of two years ago, due to smaller supplies resulting from a small stock carry-in. The depreciation of the Australian dollar has also contributed to reduced exports. Major markets for Australian raisin/sultana exports include: Germany, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Imports in 1998/99 are forecast to rise to approximately 11,000 tons because of smaller supplies. Turkey continues to supply most of the raisins to Australia.
The Australian dried fruit industry is in a process of reorganization because of its reduced size. The industry has decided that export equalization (of prices) will end after the 1998 season and has already ended for domestic sales in 1997. The future of the Australian Dried Fruit Board (ADFB) is also being debated and will be reorganized if it continues to exist.
The ADFB has continued its promotional activities, especially in Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Canada. Overseas promotions have taken the form of an Australian export logo quality seal, and in-store advertising, (including the provision of display materials by the ADFB), advertisements in major magazines and participation in trade shows. The ADFB also brings overseas buyers to Australia to meet with sales agents and to visit the major production areas.
Raisin production in 1998 (corresponds to 1997/98 in the tables) is forecast to decrease 25 percent to 24,500 tons, due to unfavorable weather influenced by El Nino which delayed maturity and increased humidity, hampering the drying of the crop. The raisin industry continues to face increased competition for table grapes from the grape juice concentrate industry. Recently, increased demand for grape juice concentrate has stepped up competition for non-export table grape supplies.
Exports of Chilean raisins in 1998 are forecast to decrease 19 percent to 23,000 tons based on the smaller harvest. Over 90 percent of Chile's raisin production is exported. Chilean exporters have a policy of maintaining stock levels close to zero.
Latin America is the major market for Chilean raisin exports. Brazil and Mexico are the largest markets, both accounting for 14 percent of Chile's total exports in 1997. Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, and the United States are Chile's other important markets in the Americas. The Netherlands and the United Kingdom are also important markets in the European Union. Prices received for exported raisins are normally much higher than domestic sales and thus the focus is on exports.
Domestic raisins are primarily used in the baking and industrial sectors in cakes, cookies, ice cream, etc. Few raisins are consumed as snacks. In 1997/98, however, consumption is forecast to decrease by more than 9 percent due to the reduced output.
The dried fruit industry receives no price supports or other direct government assistance. However, the Government has an Export Promotion Fund to address the economic situation of many Chilean farmers. An 11 percent import tariff is charged on raisins. In addition, an 18 percent value added tax is charged on all consumer items, both domestic and imported.
El Nino affects South African Crop
The 1998 (corresponds to 1997/98 in the table) raisin/sultana pack is forecast at 28,250 tons, down 26 percent from the previous year due to adverse weather conditions. Because of weather problems this year, more grapes than usual are expected to go to wineries.
Exports of South African raisin/sultanas in 1998 are forecast to decrease by more than 30 percent to 20,000 tons. South Africa exports more than 60 percent of its product to the European Union. The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, Singapore and the Netherlands are major markets. The South African currency rates have depreciated recently against the dollar which favors exports and discourages imports.
Major changes to South African industry are underway
In 1997 South Africa enacted the new Agricultural Products Marketing Act. This act changed agricultural marketing from a controlled system to a free market system, which is expected to allow more individuals and institutions to participate in the industry. This may create an opening for U.S. exporters. The Dried Fruit Board has now been transformed into a private company and will continue to market dried fruit. The industry hopes that information that was previously available under the old system, will be available under the new one.
Northern Hemisphere Countries
The 1997/98 sultana pack forecast remains unchanged at 210,000 tons, 5 percent lower than the 1996/97 estimate. Crop quality is excellent.
The Turkish raisin export forecast in 1997/98 has been revised upwards from 175,000 to 180,000 tons, based on higher than expected exports to date. Approximately 129,00 tons were exported from September to March. The ongoing depreciation of the Turkish lira against major foreign currencies favors exports. Primary Turkish export markets include: Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, France and Belgium. Turkey is also interested in exporting to Japan as a premium market.
Domestic consumption in 1997/98 is forecast to decrease 13 percent to 35,000 tons because of expected higher exports. It is reported that TARIS has bought 63,000 tons, 46,000 tons of which are grade #9 quality. TARIS plans to sell 50,000 tons to the Izmir Commodity Exchange for approximately U.S. $0.95 per kilogram. TEKEL is also purchasing raisins for distillation purposes. The import duty has been increased from 55 to 58.5 percent for raisins of all origins.
Raisin production in Greece in 1997/98 is estimated at 38,000 tons, about 2,000 tons less than expected due to lower yields. Crop quality is very good. A 14 percent depreciation in the Greek drachma allowed the industry to sell most of its remaining stocks.
The Greek industry is continuing its efforts to recover from the phylloxera problem. The government's program to replace vines estimates that 80 to 90 percent of the vines will be replaced by the year 2000. Production levels thus could recover to 50,000 to 60,000 tons at that time.
Exports in 1997/98 are forecast at 37,000 tons, unchanged from the previous forecast. Germany is expected to account for approximately 40 percent of Greek exports. Other export markets are the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and other European Union countries.
The latest NASS estimate for U.S. raisin production in 1997/98 was 375,212 tons, an increase of 32 percent above the previous year, due to excellent weather conditions. However, thus far the planted area for 1998/99 has been affected by El Nino. Cool temperatures have led to staggered blooming and a longer drying period. A later season is expected for 1998/99.
U.S. raisin exports in 1997/98 are forecast at about 120,000 tons, 2 percent above the previous year's shipments. U.S. exports to date (August to May) totaled 102,120 tons, 1 percent above last year during the same time period, and were valued at over $175 million dollars.
Exports to Brazil promise a bright future
Currently in 1997/98, the United Kingdom is the top raisin market for the United States. Sales to the United Kingdom are up 4 percent to 22,016 tons, valued at almost $39 million. Exports to date to Germany are also up 11 percent, valued at over $9.4 million. Brazil is a promising new market as exports to date (August to May) have increased 200 percent above the previous year and are valued at nearly $4 million. Exports to Canada have increased 5 percent. Other important markets with modest increases this season include Denmark, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The U.S. exports to Japan to date in 1997/98 are down 15 percent due to the strong U.S. dollar and a weaker Japanese economy.
The Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC) is continuing consumer education efforts at the retail sector and to consumers to help expand sales domestically and internationally. The industry has also started an educational program to teach school children about the importance of raisins in a healthy diet.
Mexico is top supplier of raisins to the United States
U.S. imports in 1997/98 are expected to approximate the previous year's level of 10,000 tons. Mexico is the largest supplier of raisins to the United States. Imports to date (August to May) from Mexico are up 8 percent, while raisin imports from Chile are down 30 percent.
U.S. consumption of raisins is expected to increase 6 percent in 1997/98. Industry sources suggest that the use of raisins has been increasing in the institutional and industrial sectors. These sectors are responding to the growing concern about the American diet. Consumers desire healthier, and more convenient prepared or semi-prepared foods. For example, more raisins are being used in breakfast cereals, salad bars, and bakery products.
(For further information on production, supply, distribution, and trade, contact Stephanie Riddick at 202-720-9792. For information on marketing opportunities contact Kelly Strezelecki 202-690-1341.)