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News 18.05.2020

Brazil: Coronavirus and higher supply may keep pressure on orange quotes in May

In April, the citrus growers from São Paulo State fastened the harvesting pace of the 2020/21 orange crop. Although supply was not high, the volume harvested was enough to press down citrus quotes in the in natura market during the month. Besides, the demand for oranges decreased in April, due to the social distancing advice…

Coronavirus and higher supply may keep pressure on orange quotes in May
(Photo: CEPEA)

In April, the citrus growers from São Paulo State fastened the harvesting pace of the 2020/21 orange crop. Although supply was not high, the volume harvested was enough to press down citrus quotes in the in natura market during the month. Besides, the demand for oranges decreased in April, due to the social distancing advice – because of the coronavirus pandemic –, constraining fruits sales to restaurants and other food services. Supply should continue higher than demand in May, which has been concerning citrus growers about prices.

As regards early varieties (rubi, hamlin and western, for instance), deals have been closed since March. However, only in late April these fruits were near the ideal maturation stage, when baía oranges started to be supplied. Sales and the harvesting of these varieties should step up from May, but the crop peak should occur only in June, when crushing is supposed to start. In April, the average price for hamlin oranges was 25.02 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, 18.7% down compared to that from March.

For pear oranges, the gradual decrease in the demand pressed down quotes in April. Thus, the average price for this variety was 8.15% lower than that from March, closing at 32.47 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, on tree. According to Cepea collaborators, the harvesting of the first pear oranges in the 2020/21 crop should step up from the second fortnight of May, once crops development is late and phased. However, some growers preferred to anticipate the pear orange harvesting, aiming to take advantage of the price levels – these citrus growers fear that prices may drop sharply in May, due to forecasts for higher volumes of early oranges in the market.

As regards processors, although supply is forecast to increase in May, crushing should be lower early in the month. This scenario has led the early fruits to be exclusively allocated to the in natura market. On the other hand, late oranges harvesting (valencia, natal and folha murcha) should end in the coming weeks.

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