THE RISING PINEAPPLE MARKET

Overview:

The 2019 main summer crop in Thailand is already drawing to a close. Production has been significantly below expectations and raw material prices continue to climb as a result. One of the large processors in Thailand said they were receiving just 200 tonnes per day, when they would usually be running 1200 tonnes at this time. They added that it will soon get to the point when it is ‘not worth switching the light on’ in the factory. Most plants will close on 10 June anyway, which industry sources point out is a fairly normal date for the summer campaign to finish. Once the large packers close, they will not reopen until supplies from the winter crop come on stream in September.

The smaller packers will continue to run fruit during this period. For the moment, most of the key Thai packers have ceased taking new orders and are instead making sure they have enough supplies to honor the contracts that have already been fixed.

The Thaifex food and beverage trade show has just wound up and it is likely that both buyers and sellers are digesting the information gathered there.

Pricing:

Fruit in Thailand is reportedly now changing hands for THB7.00-8.00/kg, compared with THB6.50-7.00/kg last month.

As mentioned, current offers are far and few between at the moment and there is a fairly wide disparity between high and low offers.

Demand from Europe is reportedly lacklustre and is unlikely to pick up in the near term. Most of the juice for the European summer has already been purchased and the slow uptake has meant that contracts are lasting longer than anticipated. Traders in Europe say it will be very difficult to convince buyers to accept the higher offers once they come back on to the market. There are now fears that fruit pricing could reach THB10.00/kg this year, which would likely lead to juice concentrate pricing above USD2000/ tonne. This would have a major impact on the Thai industry, which is still delivering on contracts fixed at USD1000/tonne. If juice prices climb above USD2000/tonne, then end-users will once again begin to eliminate, or at least, reduce pineapple from their portfolio leading to yet another market collapse. This three year boom-then-bust production cycle has been common to the pineapple juice market for more than 20 years.For the moment, processors are reluctant to fix any further large, longterm contracts until August, when there will be a clearer picture on the winter crop.

 Climate:

Growing conditions have been very hot and dry over the past two months. While there has been rainfall over the past two weeks, it is probably too late to bring any benefit to the summer crop supplies, say industry sources. It is too early for any accurate forecast on the winter crop, but analysts suggest that 1.4 million tonnes of production will be the absolute maximum for 2019 from both the summer and winter crops. In a good year, Thailand could produce 2.0-2.2 million tonnes.

Other regions:

There is reportedly lower pricing from producers in Indonesia – all of which are looking to wrestle market share away from Thailand, say analysts, who add that the Thai industry is unlikely to have so much influence on global pricing for pineapple concentrate in the future.