Cepea, March 18, 2020 – Orange crushing in the 2019/20 crop slowed down in the first fortnight of March at most of the processors in São Paulo State, due to the low supply in the Brazilian citrus belt. Currently, only one plant (in Araraquara) among the three large-sized processors is crushing oranges, primarily early pera rio and late varieties (natal and folha murcha). As usual, this plant should keep activities going until the crushing beginning for the 2020/21 crop.
Besides the lower orange supply, the quality of the fruits allocated to the industry is below the expected. Although yield is considered satisfactory this season, it has been affected by the frequent rains in the first two months of 2020.
BRAZILIAN SPOT MARKET – As both supply and quality decreased in the first fortnight of March, the prices paid for oranges dropped – the quotes paid for the fruits harvested and delivered at processing plants averaged 18.00 BRL per 40.8-kilo box in the first half of the month, against 20.00 BRL/box in February.
At smaller-sized processors, remuneration ranged from 18 BRL to 24 BRL per box, according to yield and quality (the processors that make fresh juice were paying higher prices for the fruits).
As regards the oranges from the 2020/21 crop, sales have not started yet – opposite to the scenario in the two previous seasons, when, between October and November, agents from plants started to bid in order to close deals. Uncertainties about the output in the 2020/21 season may be hampering price fixing by processors – it is worth to mention that production estimates should only be released in May.
MARCH – The firmer weather in tahiti lime producing regions favored the harvesting of the variety in the first fortnight of March, which, added to the lower demand from both the international market and domestic processing plants (since a large-sized processors has ended activities), pressed down quotes in that period. Between March 2 and 13, tahiti lime prices averaged 9.86 BRL per 27-kilo box, harvested, 7.9% down compared to that in the first half of February.
As regards oranges, sales increased in that period, while supply decreased. The growers consulted by Cepea reported the harvesting end for late oranges, which should increase the share of early oranges in the total volume traded this month. In general, the harvesting pace is expected to be slow for these varieties, which may underpin orange quotes in the in natura market. In the first fortnight of March, pear orange prices averaged 34.86 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, 6.7% up compared to that in the same period of the previous month.
PONKAN TANGERINE – The harvesting of ponkan tangerine started in late February in the citrus producing regions from São Paulo State – despite the slow pace. Supply (mainly of higher quality ponkan tangerine) should only increase from the second fortnight of March, when the variety starts to reach the ideal maturation to be traded in the in natura market.
Some growers harvested ponkan tangerine before the ideal maturation for trading, aiming to take advantage of the attractive price levels and the offseason period for pear and late oranges from the 2019/20 crop.
Agents expect the volume of ponkan tangerine to be lower than that in the previous season, based on the dry weather between September and October – when fruits were developing – and on the lower vegetative vigor of plants, after a large crop. In general, production was low in the last years, with well-distributed and sparse crops.
This season, fruits quality should be lower than in 2019, due to the weather. Frequent and high rains in the first two months of 2020 favored the incidence of fungal diseases and rotting after the harvesting.