THE RISING PINEAPPLE MARKET

Overview:

The main summer crop in Thailand for 2019 is now over and the processing plants will stay closed until supplies from the winter crop come on stream towards the end of September. It is predicted that there will be a marked decrease in production this year with the combined summer and winter crops producing just 1.2 million tons. In a good year, Thailand could produce 2.0-2.2 million tons. There are limited supplies available in Thailand, but trading has been thin over the past month. Most buyers are waiting for concentrate price levels to settle and are not accepting higher prices for the moment.

Pricing:

Raw material prices rose during the recent summer crop and towards the end of the campaign, fruit was changing hands for THB7.00-10.00/ kg. The current price spread for concentrate remains wide, but firm, at USD1300-1600/ton 60/65 brix FOB Thailand – on par with September. Analysts suggest that prices are likely to move higher, but when, and by how much, is difficult to determine. For the moment, there are still stocks sitting in cold stores in Europe, but once these have been absorbed by the market then prices will probably appreciate. 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, long-term contracts until August, when there will be a clearer picture on the winter crop. Traders say that end-users are not covered that far forward, but that deliveries are being postponed which would indicate that consumption is still subdued.

Meanwhile, there are reports of a drought in Costa Rica which could cut back production there. Offers for NFC pineapple juice out of Costa Rica are pegged at USD550- 800/ton single strength CFR Europe depending on packaging. Supplies of NFC pineapple juice are reportedly limited.

Climate:

Growing conditions have been very hot and dry over the past months. It is probably too late to bring any benefit to the summer crop supplies, say industry sources. It is the monsoon season in Thailand at the moment and while there are no further negative reports on production from the winter crop so far, historically a poor summer crop is followed by a poor winter crop.

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.