FAD CLOSURE period has ended but the catch is poor. The fish in the market is still above $1,600/mt for SKJ, no indications of a decrease due to the low supply vs. demand. Tongol season is over with barely any supply left in the market. This has caused the price to increase. Yellowfin price has been reduced slightly, but it remains high for the larger sizes. Albacore remains steady.
Raw Material Price
SKJ = US $1,600/ton
YFN = US $1,850/ton
Albacore = US $3,200/ton
Tongol = US $2,300/ton
In 2022 China suffered from long term extreme heat. The extreme heat also triggered a drought, severely impacting the fruit volume and quality. In Hunan/Hubei province (W region), many trees died due to the drought. For the remaining trees, the fruit are small, hard, sunburned and cracked. In Zhejiang province (L region), the oranges are seriously sunburned, and for early maturing satsuma the sunburned fruit is around 50% of the crop. Besides the influence of the severe weather conditions, Covid-19 is continuing to spread with China maintaining the zero-tolerance policy. Since canned fruit processing is labor-intensive work, this will increase production costs as factories invest more to avoid infections between workers.
We are entering the lean season for Coconut. Recently, demand has been low due to overstock in the market. However, demand is expected to increase in the coming months, especially as China emerges from their extended lockdown. Prices are expected to rise as demand increases. The Coconut market may have very well hit the bottom and now has nowhere to go but up due to the following reasons: Factories cannot sustain the low prices; higher demand on oil seeds due to emergence of Chinese demands; increased demand for desiccated items as we enter the holiday season; and leaner supply as we enter the lean crop season. Buyers should work to cover any open positions to take advantage of lower ocean freight rates and mitigate against price increases that are likely towards the end of the year.
SUPPLY – Winter crop is expected to be better than the last two years. It can be said that the crop is getting closer to a normal year. Last year total supply was around 1.1 million tons, this year it shall be finished at around 1.2-1.3 million tons. Current fruit price is around THB 8.00/KG and expected to soften in October – November.
LABOR – A new minimum wage rate has been applied from October 1st onwards. The increase is around 5% which will affect production costs directly as labor cost is one of the major factors of canned pineapple.
PACKAGING – Empty can prices should see a decrease of about 7%, but as you can see from the table below, this decrease will not offset the constant increases we have been seeing since Q4 2020. Empty can costs have increased approx. 56%.
Also, please keep in mind, although empty can prices may be reduced the label and carton prices continue to increase.
The biggest issue to European producers currently is increasing energy costs. Rates have risen nearly 400 percent since the beginning of the year. This has understandably led to increases in materials, production costs, transportation, and general inflation rates. Many suppliers have taken to shorter term contracts instead of yearly contracts to protect their margins against the unprecedented increases. This, in addition to higher ocean freight rates out of Europe, could have a negative impact on demand.
The Indonesian suppliers are also being impacted by rising energy costs as the government reduces their subsidies on fuel. Increased production costs will increase pricing. However, lower ocean freight rates could help mitigate over-all pricing to the buyer.
At the moment the Artichoke season in Peru is at its peak. The crop is satisfactory with volumes and quality meeting the forecast. While at the beginning the focus is on the bigger sizes, during mid-season the main crop consists mostly of smaller ones, switching to the smallest being harvested towards the end of the season.
The logistic challenges remain and are the main concern of producers. The ocean freight hasn’t reduced as anticipated and the lack of 20’ container equipment makes exports even more difficult. The situation is expected to become even more dire with the end of the year approaching. This is when most of the exports from Peru take place and the lack of space increases.
The euro-dollar exchange rate curve has never been this close in nearly 20 years. After 2008, the euro rate fluctuated, but generally maintained its strength against the dollar. The euro has fallen nearly 15 percent this year. Bank analysts believe with the outlook of the Fed monetary policy, US dollar strength can continue into early 2023. This is a sign not only showing euro’s weakness with uncertainty, but also a possibility of an emerging global recession. As Euro has maintained near parity against the dollar for a period of time, it would affect exports, GDP and trading conditions in European countries.
OCEAN FREIGHT AND SUPPLY CHAIN
Ocean freight rates between East Asia and the US have hit a 2 year low. This is very apparent in shipments landing in the US West Coast. Both inland rail movements and ocean routing to US East coast, add time and costs. Absolute price reductions to USEC are slightly greater than west coast USWC, but as a percentage they are significantly less.
South Asian shipments transiting China are following suit. Prices are quite a bit lower than they were several months ago. Rates from Europe and South America are still at their Covid heights. There are expectations for price drops, but so far, they have been very insignificant. High fuel prices in Europe due to current events are keeping origin side prices high. Ocean freight decreases have been fairly insignificant. Everyone is hoping for more. One interesting note is Hapag Lloyd, who have robust contracts with US rail carriers, gave price drops from EU in October – but that may just be a way to remain an attractive option in the face of the extreme rail congestion.
There are significant delays throughout the international supply chain. Containers routing through the Pacific are regularly hitting 2 week delays. These delays are centered around time at ports. Extra time waiting to drop containers off at WC ports is common right now as well.
US rail hubs are extremely congested. Rail carriers have had to limit the number of cars on any given train headed to inland ports. This has caused overall throughput issues as not all the containers destined to inland ports can make the first train. This causes a pile up at the coastal ports. There are so many containers in queue right now, that ports (for example Long Beach) have had to abandon FIFO (First in First out) policy in favor of just moving containers. Some arriving containers can catch an early train. Others are getting stuck and buried in container piles. We have noticed severe congestion at Long Beach, Norfolk, Chicago, and we are keeping an eye on Savannah and Houston.
Unfortunately, uncertainty at ports combined with so many containers tied up at hubs, terminals, and yards, has caused an overall shortage of space and dray equipment. Many drayers and warehouses are encountering setbacks in their ability to move, process, and store cargo. This adds financial and time burdens to the import industry that offset some of the ocean freight cost improvements.