Cepea, April 1st, 2021 – The supply of early citrus fruits was increasing in São Paulo State (SP) in late March, while the demand from juice processors was lower, and businesses were facing a new period of restrictive measures to fight covid-19 in Brazil.
Although estimates do not point to an extremely high availability in April, supply should still be higher than that in March, since more early oranges should reach the ideal maturation stage to be harvested this month. As for demand, besides the new restrictive measures, logistic issues were constraining purchases from wholesalers and retailers in Brazil.
Among the major changes in food services during the covid-19 pandemic are the halt in school meals, which highly demands in natura oranges, and the closure of bars and restaurants, where the demand for juice is high. Thus, in March, fruits were mostly sold to supermarkets.
PRICES – Although orange prices were still high in March, underpinned by lower supply, they decreased late in the month. The average price for pear oranges in March was 38.71 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, 2.7% down compared to that in February. For hamlin oranges (early variety), the average closed at 29.48 BRL/box, on tree, practically stable in the same comparison.
According to Cepea collaborators, some farmers anticipated the harvesting of pear oranges, aiming to take advantage of the current price levels – these agents are aware of the forecasts for higher supply of early oranges in the market from April onwards and, thus, fear quotes may drop in the coming weeks.
In the Brazilian market of tahiti lime, which is also largely sold to bars and restaurants, the decrease in the demand and the slightly higher supply pressed down quotes in March. Besides, the pace for exports and crushing slowed down.
The average price for tahiti lime closed at 20.60 BRL per 27-kilo box, harvested, 32.8% down from that in February. However, despite this devaluation, prices are currently higher than that last year, due to lower production this season.