The 2019/20 apple crop in Poland has begun and the campaign is in full swing. There has been a limited volume of pick out fruits delivered to the smaller factories and the plants are still running the cold-store fruit from the previous season. Fruit pricing is relatively expensive at PLN0.40-0.55/ kg (EUR0.09-0.13/kg). Growing conditions in Poland have been favorable, but frosts have had an impact in some areas which has meant that output in these regions is going to be “noticeably smaller.” It is difficult to get a handle on the volumes expected to be produced from the forthcoming crop. There are indications that output will reach just 3.5 million tons, compared with as much as 5.5 million tons during the 2018/19 crop.
The crop in China has already started and analysts expect the crop in China to be large at around 40 million tons (fresh), which would lead to lower pricing for juice. Analysts in Europe say they are getting indications for new season supplies from China at USD1100/ton low acid FOB China, compared with USD1000-1300/ton last month. With the lower prices predicted, the industry in China will probably be able to regain its share of the US market and the rest of the world. A shorter crop and high prices in China last season allowed for European exporters to ship to the US. However, the industry in China currently has to deal with a 25% duty on exports to the US which was increased from 10% in March this year.
Offers for high acid concentrate out of Poland are at EUR1250/ton 70 brix 3%+ acid ex-factory Poland, compared with EUR1150-1200/ton last month. Lower acid supplies are offered around EUR900-1200/ton 70 brix 2.0-2.5% acid ex-factory, against EUR800-1000/ ton last month. There is no news so far on price levels for new season contracts for concentrate, although analysts suggest that the smaller crops in Poland, Italy and Germany will probably mean that asking prices out of Poland will be higher than EUR1000+/ton throughout the crop. There is also still the possibility that the Polish Government could introduce a minimum price for fruit next season. There are continued concerns over the availability of high acid juice this season. The wild trees in Poland, which produce the high acid apples, are being replaced by cultivated orchards that are geared towards the sweeter apples, suitable for the fresh market. Therefore, the availability of the high acid varieties is going to decrease in the future. Nevertheless, traders say that while there have been concerns over the lack of high acid supplies over the past few years, these concerns have not yet been realized.