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Due to the presence of greening (Huanglongbing) in São Paulo and to the recent imbalance between supply and demand for oranges, both producers and processors have been looking for options to increase the planted area in regions outside the citrus belt, without the phytosanitary risks in SP. There have been reports of new plantings in Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais (out of Triângulo Mineiro) and Goiás, areas that are not typical citrus producers.

Investments are indeed not recommended depending on the region of São Paulo state, although major processing units are located there. Many areas have high incidence of greening, which hinders new plantings. According to data from Fundecitrus, 38 % of the trees in the citrus belt had symptoms of the disease in 2023, the sixth year in a row of greening increase. It is worth noting that new plants tend to be more vulnerable to the disease, increasing costs with prevention and chances of infection.

Therefore, plantings outside SP are an option. The land availability is higher, reducing costs, and there is the absence of greening and other diseases. Moreover, the industrial productivity can be higher than in SP, due to the warmer weather, which is positive for processing companies.

On the other hand, the fact that the areas are unknown for the citrus activity concerns players, since this scenario would demand adjustments in management and irrigation, which cannot be necessarily the same as those verified in SP.

Although these regions are warmer than SP (which can favor the productivity), it tends to affect the development of the trees. Additionally, costs with freight can be higher because of logistical issues.

It is worth noting that these investments in other regions are new and, therefore, they may not affect the orange supply in the short-term – it can be verified in roughly three years, when plants start producing.

Market

The supply of citrus fruits in the in natura market in São Paulo may be low in July. As for oranges, the lower availability has been verified since the middle of last year and it is also attributed to the high demand from the industry – it is worth noting that juice stocks at processing companies may finish the 2023/24 season (on June 30, 2024) at low levels.

Players surveyed by Cepea say that even producers who typically sell to the in natura market are focusing on sending the product to the industry this season, since prices are more attractive and there are some advantages compared to the in natura market.

The volume of orange juice exported by Brazil in the partial of the 2023/24 season (from July/23 to May/24) remains below that registered in the same period of the previous crop. According to data from Comex Stat, Brazil exported 914.9 thousand tons of orange juice, for a decrease of 8.9 % compared to the same period last season.

The revenue, in turn, totaled USD 2.47 billion, moving up 22 % this season in relation to the previous. The main reason for the increase in revenue was the higher price paid per ton of juice, which rose due to the low availability of the commodity in Brazil, according to agents consulted by Cepea.

OJ shipments to the European Union amounted 489.79 thousand tons from July/23 to May/24, downing 8.2 % against the same period of 2022/23. The income, in turn, rose 27 %, at USD 1.35 billion. To the US, exports dropped 11 % in relation to that in 2022/23, at 293.64 thousand tons. The income verified between July/23 and May/24 was USD 737 million, 9 % up against the same period last season.

Domestic market

Prices of oranges allocated to processing activities have been moving up since March, when contracts involving the 2024/25 season have started to be closed. In early June, values of the fruit traded in the spot market in São Paulo state hit BRL 85.00 per 40.8-kilo box, harvested and delivered, a new record of Cepea series, which started in 1994, in real terms (averages were deflated by the IGP-DI).

Price rises are related to both the higher demand and the limited supply. As for the demand, the industry needs to purchase the raw material, because orange juice stocks are very low. Concerning the supply, the fruit output may be small again in São Paulo and in Triângulo Mineiro.

The orange processing of the 2024/25 season may be intensified in May. Three of the major processors and other two small companies (tool) have been operating at the moment. At least three more units are expected to start activities still in early May.

In the same period of 2023, only three units were operating, and a fourth company started crushing in the second week of the month. This scenario indicates a higher intensity of processing activities this year. Although current volumes are not high yet, players from the industry say that some companies have started operating in order to avoid fruit losses in a year of low supply.

Prices at companies remain firm, reaching BRL 70.00 per box for fruits of the new season. In cases of higher volumes, values can be even higher.

Due to the increase of industrial activities, the downward trend of orange prices in the in natura market, verified in April, is likely to slow down, since producers will have the industry as an option to sell the product. In April, the average for the in natura pear orange, of BRL 91.28 per 40.8-kilo box, in tree, was 3 % lower than in March.

The demand for oranges, in turn, is expected to decrease in May, because of the supply of ponkan tangerine. Moreover, possible milder temperatures in the Brazilian autumn tend to reduce the consumption.

Tahiti lime

The rainfall favoured the development of the tahiti lime in São Paulo state, increasing the supply.

The volume of orange juice exported by Brazil in the partial of the 2023/24 season (from July/23 to March/24) was below that registered in the same period of the previous crop. According to players from the industry, the low availability of the commodity in the Brazilian market may be limiting shipments. As for prices of the juice sold to the international market, they moved up.

The 2023/24 season in Brazil is expected to finish (in June/24) with reduced orange juice stocks at the industry. As a result, some players are unwilling to export large amounts in order to avoid having zero stocks by the end of 2023/24.

According to data from Comex Stat, Brazil exported 812.2 thousand tons of orange juice in the partial of 2023/24, for a decrease of 7.7 % compared to the same period last season. The revenue totaled USD 2.08 billion, moving up 23 % this season in relation to the previous and close to the total registered in the crop before (USD 2.14 billion up to June/23).

OJ shipments to the European Union amounted 419.9 thousand tons from July/23 to March/24, downing 7.7 % against the same period of 2022/23. The income, in turn, rose 26 %, at USD 1.1 billion. To the US, exports dropped 4.4 % in relation to that in 2022/23, at 265.7 thousand tons. The income verified between July/23 and March/24 was USD 667.1 million, 18 % up against the same period last season.

Market in Brazil

The market of the tahiti lime in São Paulo closed March with firm prices. Players surveyed by Cepea say that this is related to the low supply, since rains affected the harvest. As a result, the monthly price average was BRL 31.17 per 27-kilo box, harvested, 55 % up in relation to February.

As for the orange, prices also closed March at higher levels. The supply was low (due to the offseason period and to the good demand from the industry) and the demand in the in natura market was firm, because of high temperatures. Therefore, the price average was BRL 93.56 per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, upping 7 % in relation to February.

Harvesting activities for ponkan tangerine have started in March in São Paulo state, but the volumes available are still limited. According to players surveyed by Cepea, the supply is expected to increase significantly from April onwards, when more fruits hit the ideal ripening stage.

First tangerines harvested come from irrigated orange groves, where the development is more advanced, such as in the north of São Paulo state and Minas Gerais.

The season is expected to continue up to mid-August, and the volume harvested may be similar to that registered in the last crop, according to agents surveyed by Cepea. As for the quality, it has been considered satisfactory, in spite of some cases of Alternaria citri, which have been controlled successfully.

The current low supply of ponkan tangerine has been keeping quotations attractive to producers. From March 25-28, the price average was at BRL 95.53 per 27-kilo box, on tree, 36.4 % up compared to the same period in 2023, in nominal terms.

The holidays of Good Friday and Easter, the end-of-the-month period and lower temperatures in late March have limited the demand for oranges. However, prices continue to move up due to the restricted supply. As for the tahiti lime, despite the low consumption, rains and the slow pace of the harvest limited the supply, boosting quotations.

Brazilian orange juice processors finished 2023 with low stocks. A report released by CitrusBR in March indicates that the volume was 463.94 thousand tons (equivalent to concentrate juice) on December 31, 2023, being 6.7 % higher than that on the same day last year, but the second lowest in history (the series has started in 2011).

Considering that the industry is practically in the offseason period, and, therefore, they have been using stocks to supply the international market, the stocked volume is likely to decrease month after month. This scenario brings concerns about the global supply, since Brazil is the biggest world exporter, and, although there are no forecasts for the next crop (2024/25) yet, the orange production may not increase compared to the current season.

CitrusBR has not projected the ending stocks for the orange juice industry this season. However, data from Cepea indicate that stocks may finish the season higher than in the previous, especially because of the decrease in exports.

Taking 2023/24 initial stocks, of 84.75 thousand tons (CitrusBR), processing of 267 million boxes (discounting the 40 million boxes of the in natura market of the total volume projected by Fundecitrus), the same juice yield of the previous crop and the 6 % decrease of exports (from July/23 to February/24), the amount in stocks by the end of the 2023/24 season (on June 30, 2024) would be only 94.5 thousand tons, 11 % more than in the same period last year.

In spite of the projection of an increase compared to the last season, it is worth noting that 2022/23 ending stocks were the lowest in recent history.

Production

The rainfall in orange producing areas in São Paulo state has been favoring the 2024/25 season. Players surveyed by Cepea say that the good humidity has been positive for the fruits, allowing to anticipate the harvest of early varieties, which have started to be offered in the in natura market in February and may be intensified in March.

Pear orange prices in the in natura market hit a new record in February, considering Cepea historical series, which has started in October 1994 – values were deflated by IGP-DI December/23. Quotations are likely to continue at high levels in March, since the volume of early varieties in the spot market in São Paulo is still small.

In February, pear orange prices averaged BRL 87.40 per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, 9.29 % up compared to January/24 and an increase of 83 % in relation to February/23 (in this case, in nominal terms). Price rises are linked to the lower supply in this offseason period, while the supply of late and early varieties is also limited. It is worth noting that the firm industrial demand reduced even more the fruit availability in the domestic market during the entire season.

TAHITI LIME – Prices have started February in a downward trend; however, they rose during the month, leading to an increase of the monthly average. Although it is the peak season, frequent rains limited the harvest and, consequently, the supply. Moreover, weather conditions have been favoring the fruit quality.

In this scenario, the tahiti lime price average in the in natura market was BRL 20.11 per 27-kg box (harvested) in February, moving up 46.36 % and 104 % in relation to January/24 and February/23, respectively, in nominal terms.

Values are likely to remain firm in March because of the lower volume that will be harvested. Moreover, exports may increase, especially due to the proximity of Easter, which can influence to flow the product.

Pear orange prices have been moving up since the beginning of the 2023/24 season in the in natura market. In January, values hit the record of Cepea series, which has started in 1994. In the first month of 2024, the price average was BRL 78.89 per 40.8-kilo box, moving up 16% compared to December/23 and 90% in relation to January/23, in real terms (values were deflated by IGP-DI Dec/23). Up until January/24, the highest value in real terms had been BRL 74.92/box, in November 1994.

This scenario of high prices is related to the limited supply. The production in the current crop is on average; however, low orange juice stocks increase the need to buy the raw material, reducing the orange supply in the in natura market.

As for the demand, players surveyed by Cepea say that it is firm, since temperatures are high, favoring the consumption of the fruit.

The pear orange supply is expected to continue limited in February, which is still considered offseason.

Industry

Prices for pear orange and late varieties for the industry had hit a real record in November. Since then, they have been renewing the record level of Cepea series, which has started in 1994. However, values are now moving down, considering the closing of new trades.

The price average for pear orange and late varieties for the industry was BRL 57.68 per 40.8-kilo box, harvested and delivered, in January, increasing 10% against the month before and 76% in relation to January 2023, in real terms.

Tahiti lime

Prices finished January at low levels, due to the peak season. The price average in January 2024 was BRL 13.56 per 27-kg box (harvested), for a decrease of 28% compared to the last month of 2023.

The tahiti lime supply is expected to continue high in February, due to rains in January, which can favor both the fruit development and the quality.

In 2024, orange prices paid to citrus growers in São Paulo/Triângulo Mineiro may remain at high levels. The supply may continue to be lower than the industrial demand, keeping the availability limited in the in natura market.

So far, there are no solid aspects that allow to project the volume that will be harvested in the 2024/25 season; however, the orange juice supply may not be enough to meet the demand, especially because of the expectation of low juice stocks in June 2024.

CitrusBR says that the volume in stocks by the end of the 2022/23 season (in June/23) was only 84.745 thousand tons equivalent to concentrate juice. Cepea calculations based on the orange production forecast by Fundecitrus indicate that the volume in stocks by the end of the current season (2023/24, in June/24) may not be higher. This scenario may be reinforced in case exports continue intense and the productivity remains below-average.

Therefore, it would be important if the orange volume harvested in São Paulo and in Triângulo Mineiro is above the average over the last years in order for the processed volume to meet exports and allow a recovery in stocks by June 2025. However, challenges faced in the second semester of 2023 (greening and heat waves) may bring difficulties for a good harvest in 2024/25.

It is worth noting that Brazil does not have major competitors regarding the global orange juice supply. Mexico, an important supplier for the US market, has been facing difficulties in the production, especially because of the dry weather, while Florida has been facing the impacts of greening. In this scenario, a decrease in the Brazilian availability might affect the world orange juice supply.

Investments

Although the profitability scenario had been positive in 2023, major investments in São Paulo are not expected for 2024, due to the high incidence of greening. The planting can continue firm in Triângulo Mineiro, but the availability of soil and water for irrigation are limited.

2023 was a very positive year for the citrus activity in São Paulo state and in Triângulo Mineiro concerning prices received by citrus farmers. Orange values were at firm levels during the year in both the in natura market and at the industry – in this segment, quotations hit record levels in real terms, allowing a year of good profitability.

This scenario is explained by the lower supply compared to the demand, despite the fact that the 2023/24 production is on average. Orange juice stocks started the season at low levels, and there was the need to purchase the raw material in order to prevent a significant decrease of stocks at the end of the current season. Moreover, the orange juice demand is firm in the international market, especially from the US, country that has been registering limited production for years due to greening (HLB) impacts.

In November, prices of orange to the industry hit real records, considering Cepea historical series, which has started in October 1994 (monthly values were deflated by IGP-DI October/23).

Orange production

The 2023/24 orange season in São Paulo state and in Triângulo Mineiro may decrease 2.2 % compared to the previous, according to Fundecitrus. The total volume is forecast at 307.22 million boxes, 0.7 % smaller in relation to the first estimate, released in May.

The decrease is related to above-average rains, which increased the incidence of blossom-end rot, to the negative biennial cycle (except in the north), the lower volume of flowers verified in some late variety trees and to the intensity of greening.

It is important to mention that this volume is below the need of the industry to meet the international demand and increase juice stocks, which are very low. According to CitrusBR, the volume in stocks hit the lowest level in 12 years, totaling only 84.745 thousand tons of volume equivalent to concentrate juice by the end of the 2022/23 season (June/23), downing 40.7 % compared to the previous crop. These critical numbers arise serious concerns about the global orange juice supply.

The combination of low orange supply and firm demand over the last weeks, due to high temperatures, has been keeping prices on the rise in both the in natura market and at the industry.

Orange prices have been hitting records in both segments – as for fruits to the industry, the current average is a real record, considering the Cepea series, which started in October 1994 (monthly prices were deflated by IGP-DI October). Even with an average crop, orange juice stocks at processing companies are low, resulting in a fruit supply that is lower than the demand.

In November, pear oranges are traded in the in natura market at BRL 58.90 per box, 45.9 % higher than in November last year (in real terms) and the highest of Cepea series, in nominal terms. In real terms, the current average is the highest since March 2019 and the fourth biggest considering the months of November.

Prices for pear orange and late varieties sent to the industry, in turn, have averaged BRL 49.04 per box in November, soaring 60.3 % compared to November/22, in real terms, and the highest of the series.

The supply in Brazil is expected to be lower than the demand at least until the end of the crop. The following season can still register a limited availability, considering that current OJ stocks may not recover at the end of the 2023/24 crop. In case the 2024/25 season continues on the average, stocks may present a new decrease. Therefore, if the crop is below-average, the situation can be critical.

The new heat wave in São Paulo state has been concerning citrus growers. Temperatures are higher than those registered in the last wave, in September, and lasting longer. Thus, many producers say that the weather may affect the 2024/25 production, but it is still early to estimate possible impacts.

Up until mid-November, high temperatures have been affecting areas with fruitlets. It is worth noting that, in the heat wave observed in September, areas with fruitlets (which had registered flowers in August) were the most affected, since weather conditions have caused fruitlets to fall.

Areas with late flowers (verified in less than 30 days) may also be damaged by the hot weather – these flowers blossomed earlier and the development stage is more advanced. Moreover, citrus growers indicate possible impacts on bigger fruits, especially in trees with high incidence of greening, with less leaves and/or in bad nutrition.

In irrigated areas, in turn, damages tend to be mitigated, since flowers are in a more advanced stage. However, these areas are located in the north of São Paulo state, where temperatures are usually higher.

As for 2023/24 oranges, players surveyed by Cepea report impacts on the quality. Many fruits are withered and sunburned, and consumers usually do not want to buy fruits with these conditions – in many cases, it is necessary to accelerate the harvest in order to avoid the premature fruit fall.

TAHITI LIME – The heat wave has also been affecting the tahiti lime. As rains have not been frequent in major producing regions, the supply has not increased in a significant way, and most fruits are small.

Despite the smaller size, producers have been harvesting fruits in order to take advantage of high prices and to avoid that the hot weather affects the quality even more.

Regular rains registered in tahiti lime producing areas since mid-September have been gradually increasing the supply of this fruit. Thus, the tahiti lime supply in October was slightly higher and it may increase more in November. The peak season is expected in December.

Due to the increasing supply, players surveyed by Cepea expect tahiti lime prices to move down in November, decreasing even more from December on.

In October, the tahiti lime was traded at BRL 68.92 per 27-kg box (harvested) in São Paulo state, downing 4.1 % in relation to September/23 and a decrease of 17.4 % compared to October/22, in nominal terms.

Orange

The season of late varieties was intensified in mid-October, and valência was the variety that was most offered, but volumes of natal oranges were also available in the market. The amount of these fruits is expected to increase significantly in November, taking part of pear orange share and increasing its importance in the juice industry. As for pear oranges, the supply has been reducing. In October, the average price was BRL 52.44 per 40.8-kg box (on tree), 11.4 % above that in September.

The second fortnight of September was marked by extremely high temperatures in São Paulo State. This scenario warned citrus growers, since intense heat may damage the oranges from both the current (2023/24) and the coming seasons (2024/25).

In the 2023/24 crop – which is currently being harvested –, the biggest problem has been wilted fruits, according to Cepea collaborators. This feature reduces both quality and remuneration, since the oranges become lighter because of the loss of water. On the other hand, for the industry, fruits quality rises slightly, due to higher yield and ºbrix.

On the other hand, for the coming season (24/25), although the effects of the hot weather from September are still uncertain, growers are concerned about fruitlet fall, which may be higher than the usual. This context could lead to a lower number of fruits per tree.

Also, the fact that many orchards have been affected by greening makes the situation worse. A survey from Fundecitrus (Citrus Defense Fund) shows that 38.06 % of the trees in the citrus belt (São Paulo + Triângulo Mineiro) have had symptoms of the disease this year, 56 % above that from 2022 and the sixth consecutive year of increase in the incidence of greening.

The higher demand for orange juice from the United States raised the Brazilian exports of the commodity in the first two months of the 2023/24 exporting season (July and August). The average price paid for the national juice increased in that period too, influenced by low inventories and the lower output in Brazil. The higher volume exported and the valuation of the Brazilian juice abroad resulted in a significant increase in the revenue of exporters.

According to data from Secex (Foreign Trade Secretariat), Brazil exported 182.9 thousand tons of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent in July and August, 4% more than the volume shipped in the same period of 2022. Revenue totaled USD 397.9 million, a staggering 20% up in the same comparison.

As for the types of juice exported, shipments of Not-From-Concentrate (NFC) orange juice increased 19 %, and revenue, 25 %; of FCOJ, the volume exported decreased 3 %, while the revenue rose 17 %. The different performances of the exports of these types of juice are linked to the higher demand from the US for NFC juice, whose volume sent to the North-American country rose a staggering 51 %.

The United States

For one more season, the US have been importing orange juice from Brazil. In the first two months of the current season (23/24), the US imported 50.5 thousand tons of FCOJ, an increase of 38 % compared to that in the same period of 2022/23. Revenue totaled USD 113.2 million, 57 % higher, in the same comparison.

Lower orange production in the US because of the 2022/23 crop of Florida – which has decreased 62 %, according to the USDA – and lower supply from Mexico, the second major supplier of orange juice to the US, led the country to raise imports from Brazil.

European Union

To the European Union, Brazil exported, in July and August, 112.6 thousand tons of orange juice, a slight 3 % up from that last season. Revenue totaled USD 241.9 million in the two first months of the season, 14 % higher, in the same comparison.

Crop Estimates

According to data released this week by Fundecitrus, the 2023/24 harvest in the citrus belt (São Paulo State + the Triângulo Mineiro) is expected at 309.34 million boxes of 40.8-kg each, stable compared to that estimated in May but 1.5 % lower than the output from last season. It is important to highlight that this volume is a lot lower than the industry’s needs to meet the demand from abroad and replenish inventories, which are currently very low.

Tahiti lime prices have been firm in the citrus-producing regions in São Paulo State since mid-June. However, in the first fortnight of August, quotations skyrocketed. Supply has decreased even more steeply, while demand is beginning to warm up – it is important to consider that this year’s winter has been warmer than the average.

Between August 1st and 15th, the average price for tahiti lime closed at BRL 76.70 per 27-kg box (harvested) a staggering 111.87 % up from that in July and 106.85 % above the average in the first fortnight of August of 2022, in nominal terms.

Some growers managed to sell the box for BRL 100.00 in the first half of August. With prices at high levels, many growers harvested all the fruits they were able to, in order to ensure a good revenue, offsetting at least part of the financial losses from the peak of harvest, when quotations were lower than BRL 10/box.

Cepea, collaborators believe that prices will continue high for some time, since supply in SP is only expected to resume rising after the return of rains, which usually occurs in September.

According to Cepea collaborators, in general, fruits quality (peel, amount of juice and size) is considered good, being higher in irrigated orchards – where fruits are growing bigger.

EXPORT – Domestic valuations have influenced the export value for the Brazilian tahiti lime. However, agents believe shipments will decrease soon, since sales in Brazil are expected to get good remuneration and thus reduce the attractiveness of the international market.

It is important to mention that this year’s shipments are currently at record levels, at 103.4 thousand tons (lemons and limes), 0.7 % higher than that from the same period last year, according to data from Secex (Foreign Trade Secretariat). Revenue is at USD 99.25 million, 4.4 % higher, in the same comparison.

The Brazilian exports of orange juice increased in the 2022/23 season (July/22 – June/23), after fading for two consecutive seasons. According to data from Secex, Brazil exported 1.09 million tons of the product (Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice FCOJ Equivalent) in the 22/23 crop, 9 % up the volume shipped in the previous season. The revenue received from these shipments totaled USD 2.1 billion, a staggering 28 % up, in the same comparison.

Although the consumption of orange juice is not increasing in the major destinations of the Brazilian product – and despite the low national inventories –, the United States had higher import needs in the last years, due to the steep production decrease in Florida – mainly in the current season, 2022/23 –, which had been facing the effects of greening and was hit by hurricanes late last year.

According to Secex, the Brazilian exports of orange juice to the US have increased high this season, totaling 340.9 thousand tons, 69 % higher than the volume shipped in 2021/22. Revenue totaled USD 701.9 million, a staggering 93 % up, in the same comparison. As production is not expected to rise high in Florida in the short term, the US may continue with high imports needs, and Brazil is the number one supplier of orange juice in the world.

In a report released in June, Florida Citrus Department confirmed higher imports to the US: between Oct/22 and Apr/23, the country doubled the volume of FCOJ imported from Brazil compared to that in the previous season; of NFC (Not-From-Concentrate) orange juice, shipments rose 82 %.

EUROPEAN UNION – To the European Union, the number one destination of the Brazilian orange juice, exports totaled 569.6 thousand tons in the 2022/23 season, 8 % less than that shipped in the previous season. Revenue totaled USD 1.13 billion, 9 % up, in the same comparison.

Orange supply has been low in Brazil since early 2023. In April, the pear oranges available in the market were the ones that ripen out of the usual period. However, the ones that were harvested earlier are not well accepted by consumers in the table market, since they did not reach the ideal maturation stage.

Despite low supply, pear orange prices weakened, due to the arrival of early varieties, such as hamlin, westin and rubi, to the market. Last month, the average price for pear oranges closed at BRL 46.87 per 40.8-kg box (on tree), 3.08 % lower than that from March but still 11.56 % higher than that in April last year, in nominal terms.

As the availability of pear oranges is low, many farmers – majorly in northern SP – tried to anticipate the harvesting of early varieties, aiming to take advantage of the current firm prices and make cash flow during the inter-harvest.

Ponkan tangerine

The prices for ponkan tangerine dropped last month too. While in March, supply was low, in April, the harvesting stepped up. Still, availability was not that high. The average price for ponkan tangerine closed at BRL 64.07 per 27-kg box (on tree) in April, 8.56 % lower than that in March but 40.6 % up from that in April/22, in nominal terms.

Tahiti lime

Opposite to the scenarios observed in the markets of oranges and ponkan tangerine, for tahiti lime, prices are on the rise, boosted by low supply – as the peak of harvest took place in the first bimester of 2023, supply in lower now.

The 2022/23 orange season in the citrus belt (São Paulo State and the Triângulo Mineiro) is ending, while the oranges from next season are still green. Thus, the volume of oranges being processed at the plants in SP has been low. Considering large-sized plants, only three of them were processing oranges in March. In the same period last year, the scenario was the same, while in 2021, only one plant was in operation, which confirms that industrial activity is still high for this time of the year.

However, one of these plants is forecast to end activities in April, since orange availability is low. So far, the prices paid by the industry in the spot market have been around BRL 38.00 per 40.8-kg box (harvested and delivered). Considering the oranges from the new season (2023/24), bids have been higher, at BRL 40/box, however, the farmers consulted by Cepea reported some deals at BRL 42/box.

Most of the oranges from the 23/24 season has been sold. Thus, the number of fruits available in the spot market in 2023/24 will be low. However, processors’ needs are high, since their juice inventories are low.

As for the oranges not purchased yet, agents from processors reported that farmers are not rushing to sell them, since quotations have been firm in the table market, which may lead them to send the ripen fruits to this segment. These fruits may also be sent to small-sized plants that produce whole juice, which continue to process fruits and are paying up to BRL 45/box. However, for the production of whole juice, quality requirements are usually higher.

Orange processing in the 2023/24 season is forecast to begin in mid-May at large-sized processors. However, only from June onwards the volume is expected to increase.

The Brazilian exports of orange juice are on the rise in the current season (2022/23). According to data from Secex (Foreign Trade Secretariat), between July/22 and Feb/23, Brazil exported 776.3 thousand tons of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent, 14 % more than that shipped in the same period of the previous season. Revenue totaled USD 1.5 billion, 34 % higher, in the same comparison.

The higher increase in the revenue than in the volume exported highlights the higher average price paid for the commodity exported by Brazil. Data from Secex show that the quotations for the national FCOJ Equivalent rose 22 % between the last and the current seasons, and for Not-From-Concentrate juice, 7 %.

Exports to the European Union, the number one destination for the Brazilian orange juice, have decreased 2 % this season, while revenue has increased 16 % because of the recent valuations.

To the United States, exports are on the rise. In the current season, 240 thousand tons of the product have been shipped to this destination, a staggering 82 % up from that last season. Revenue more than doubled (+ 110 %), totaling USD 478.7 million. With shipments to the EU being stable and the increase to the USA, the share of the Brazilian juice in the total imported by the USA rose from 19 % in 2021/22 to 31 % in 2022/23.

It is important to mention that America’s high demand for the Brazilian juice is linked to the fact that the 2022/23 orange season in Florida has been compromised by the high incidence of greening and natural disasters, such as hurricanes and frosts.

The processing of the oranges from the 2022/23 crop is beginning to slow down in Brazil, but it is still higher than the usual for this time of the year. In February, five plants – of the large-sized processors – were operating, the same as that last year but much more than that in 2020 and in 2021, when only a single plant was processing oranges.

According to Cepea collaborators, last year, the orange harvest was delayed, which explained the higher volume being processed in February. However, in the 2022/23 season, late processing is due to rains, which are hampering crop activities – although workers manage to get into the groves to harvest oranges, transportation is being difficulted.

The end of processing is still uncertain. Agents from processors reported that planning has been postponed because of the difficulties in crop activities. So far, some plants are expected to continue to process oranges in March.

A frequent concern among agents from processors is the yield of the oranges being harvested, majorly in 2023. They reported that, with frequent rainfall, the quality of the fruits for juice production has decreased, raising the number of boxes needed to the produce a ton of concentrated juice – higher moisture raises water absorption by fruits.

As for prices in the spot market, they were up to BRL 38.00 per 40.8-kilo box (harvested and delivered to processor) in February, considering large-sized companies. At smaller-sized processors, the prices paid for pear and late oranges reached BRL 40.00/box.

For the new crop (2023/24), whose processing is expected to begin in May/June, bids from large-sized processors have been up to BRL 38.00/box. Agents from processors reported that, despite the increase compared to the first bids for the 2022/23 crop, farmers expected higher prices, and, thus, many of them postponed deals.

ORANGE JUICE – Despite the valuation of concentrated orange juice at ICE Futures in recent months, there have not been major reflexes on processors’ revenue. According to Cepea collaborators, most of the juice is being sold through contracts with fixed prices. Since Jan. 1st, the contract due in March has valued 19%%, closing at USD 3,543/ton on Feb. 23rd.

TAHITI LIME – Tahiti lime processing was high in February but is expected to slow down in March. The company that processes tahiti lime aims to receive lower volumes of the fruit in the coming weeks. In February, two plants were receiving tahiti lime, but from March onwards, only one of them is expected to keep activities going. The prices paid by large and small-sized processors for tahiti lime are between BRL 12 and BRL 14/box.

Flowers of the 2023/24 crop, verified in the second semester of 2022, were considered excellent in the citrus belt of São Paulo and Triângulo Mineiro, which resulted in expectations of a good harvest. However, the weather after flowers blossomed was not ideal in many areas. Therefore, the next season may register lower supply compared to the demand.

Areas that have irrigation system (44 % of the total is located in the north of São Paulo state) registered anticipated flowers (in mid-July), and the weather was good after the blossoming. In this case, the development is considered satisfactory.

In other areas, however, scenarios were very distinct, since the rainfall was irregular and at different volumes among the regions. In the southwest of SP, flowers blossomed in late September, while it occurred in mid-October in other areas. In this case, as flowers opened in the rainy season (September/October), there had been more cases of blossom-end rot (“estrelinha”), increasing flower abortion.

Another aspect that reinforced concerns of the citrus sector in Brazil is the below-average amount of rainfall in many regions during the flower-settlement (especially in November), and temperatures were high in some moments. Thus, fruitlets dropped. From mid-December until now, rains have been more frequent, which brings relief, but are not capable to revert the scenario of losses.

In general, players expected that the 2023/24 season would be higher than the current; however, after many difficulties, opinions have started to change. The USDA released a report in December indicating that the Brazilian production may total 305 million 40.8-kilo boxes, 1.9% less compared to the current crop. It is important to mention that a more accurate forecast for 2023/24 will be possible only in mid-February.

Therefore, the scenario of low inventories at the end of 2022/23 may not be reverted in the next season. CitrusBR says that the ending stocks by June/23 may total only 140 thousand tons, lower than the strategic level, of 250 thousand tons.

Cepea calculations indicate that, in order for the volume in stocks by the end of 2023/24 (in June/24) returns to the strategic level of 250 thousand tons, the orange processing in 2023/24 may be at roughly 300 million 40.8-kilo boxes, which is equivalent to a production in São Paulo state and in Triângulo Mineiro at 340 million boxes, higher than what the USDA forecast.

TAHITI LIME – The first two months of 2023 may register high supply in São Paulo state, due to the peak period, which can press down quotations. On the other hand, as the industry may intensify processing activities and exports tend to increase in this period, the volume available is expected to reduce in the domestic market.

The ending stocks of orange juice ended the 2021/22 season at low levels (on June 30th, 2022), according to data released this week by CitrusBR. And even if orange production increases in the 2022/23 season, the volume of juice stocked by the end of the crop is not expected to be high.

According to CitrusBR, the ending stocks of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent totaled 143.1 thousand tons at the end of the 2021/22 season, almost 55 % lower than that in the previous crop and below the strategic level (250 thousand tons).

CitrusBR estimates juice stocks to total 140 thousand tons by the end of the 2022/23 crop, in June 2023. Despite the increase in the number of oranges allocated to the production of juice, industrial yield is expected to be lower than that last season – it is important to consider that, in the 2021/22 crop, rainfall was not that frequent, which favoured yield.

According to CitrusBR, the Brazilian exports of orange juice to the United States may increase, due to the low orange production in Florida, which is keeping low the American stocks of juice.

This scenario confirms the high industrial demand for oranges in the current season (2022/23). However, next season, the demand from juice processors is expected to continue high – to replenish stocks, at least partially. Thus, juice prices are on the rise abroad.

Cepea estimates that, for the volume stocked by the end of the 2023/24 season (in June 2024) to return to the strategic level of 250 thousand tons, orange processing during that season needs to be around 300 million boxes of 40.8 kilograms, which accounts for an output of 340 million boxes in São Paulo State + the Triângulo Mineiro. This calculation considers stable juice sales, of a million tons, and the average yield of the five previous crops.

However, since the beginning of Fundecitrus surveys, in 2015/16, orange production has surpassed 340 million boxes in only two seasons: 2017/18 and 2019/20. Since then, the area with orange groves has shrunk. On the other hand, groves were renewed in that period, which tends to favour productivity and production.

Amid low rainfall in São Paulo State since the end of the Summer (in late March), farmers have been concerned about the effects of the current lack of moisture on orange trees. According to Inmet (Brazilian Institute of Meteorology), it has not rained in SP for 50 days, the longest drought since 2012. To make things worse, last month was the hottest July in SP in all times.

For the oranges still on tree (from the 2022/23 season), although major damages have not been reported, the drought is concerning. In dry-land groves, some fruits wilted, reducing both quality and size for the in natura market, making them only suitable to the industry. Besides, some oranges and leaves fell off due to high water stress.

Also, the effects of greening on oranges have increased this year in many Brazilian areas. It is important to consider that, according to Fundecitrus, last year, greening affected 22.37 % of the orange trees in SP, the highest average.

On the other hand, the lack of rains is necessary to cause groves some water stress, which is crucial for blooming. According to Cepea collaborators, in northern SP, where groves are irrigated, many farmers began irrigating the plants in mid-June, and trees are now beginning to bloom. In these areas, conditions have been favourable so far. In dry-land groves, blooming is expected to occur as soon as it rains in the citrus belt.

BRAZILIAN MARKET IN JULY – The demand for citrus increased in Brazil in July, favoured by the atypical warm weather during the month. On the other hand, although the orange harvesting was in full swing in SP last month, industries’ purchases were high, which pushed up quotations.

The 2022/23 harvesting of early fruits is advancing in São Paulo state. In this scenario, industrial processing activities are following the harvesting pace and requiring more fruits.

According to players from the industry, the ratio of early fruits has improved and practically all fruits have been allowed for delivery, both in the spot market or for contracts. The industrial yield, however, is still low, which is common at the beginning of the crop.

Crushing activities are now taking place in eight processors in São Paulo: Araraquara, Araras, Bebedouro, Catanduva, Colina, Conchal and two in Matão. The companies have already been receiving some volumes of pera orange, but the majority is early fruits – the pera orange availability tends to increase from mid-September onwards.

In the spot market, values are ranging from 27.00 and 28.00 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, harvested and delivered at the processor. As for contracts, quotations may hit 31.00 BRL per box in big companies. In small processing companies, values are at 35.00 BRL/box.

As observed for other agricultural products, the production costs of citrus farming have increased sharply in Brazil, due to higher inputs prices, majorly fertilisers. This scenario is concerning farmers in Brazil, considering that citrus production was low in the two previous seasons, which resulted in higher costs per unit.

Even if productivity and production increase in the 2022/23 season – compared to that in 2020/21 and 2021/22, because of the slightly more favourable weather –, higher inputs prices are expected to limit a possible reduction in the production cost per unit. Thus, profit margins may be lower than the expected, despite orange valuations in 2022/23 – so far, the ceiling orange price is at BRL 32.00 per 40.8-kilo box, harvested and delivered to processing plant (considering only large-sized processors).

Tight profitability may continue to constrain investments in both crops’ renewal and replating, mainly because shorter-cycle crops, such as soybean crops, are currently more attractive and bring better opportunities to farmers.

Last year, after five consecutive years of stability, the area allocated to citrus farming shrank in São Paulo and the Triângulo Mineiro (citrus belt), according to data from Fundecitrus, which may happen again in 2022.

Lower profit margins may also hamper adequate crop management in the citrus belt. Lower investments in crops’ renewal and replanting added to difficulties related to crop management may reduce orange production even more in the mid-term. Low supply may underpin prices, since the stocks of orange juice at the processing plants in SP are not high, and production needs to be higher for inventories to be replenished.

Citrus market

The domestic demand for oranges has not been high enough to raise prices. According to Cepea collaborators, many purchasers are trying to pay lower prices, putting farmers off selling oranges in the domestic market.

Brazilian citrus farmers claim that, if prices drop lower than the current levels, sales in the in natura market will become unviable. Currently, juice processors are bidding prices up to BRL 32/box (harvested and delivered). Although the values paid by processors include the harvesting and freight, the quality standard required by this segment and the risks of default are lower, making sales to the industry more attractive.

In this scenario, if the demand from processors continues high and prices, attractive, sales to the in natura market are expected to decrease, at least during the Winter and the beginning of Spring, when supply increases, while demand decreases. Also, most oranges have not reached the ideal maturation stage yet, allowing farmers to wait and sell the oranges when the processing activities in the 2022/23 season begin, forecast to late May/early June.

The harvesting of early oranges is expected to advance in May, which may raise supply and press down quotations. In general, availability has been growing since mid-April, weakening prices.

In April (until April 28th), the average price for pear oranges closed at BRL 42.10 per 40.8-kilo box (on tree), a slight 4.96 % down from that in March (BRL 43.00/box). Before that, values had increased for two months.

On the other hand, for early oranges, quotations were firm in April – the average price for rubi oranges closed at BRL 35.71/box, 3.63 % higher than that in March. As the values for this group of oranges have been lower than that for pear oranges, the competitiveness of early oranges has increased.

For the coming weeks, if prices drop, sales tend to increase, since demand may be higher. However, if values decrease too steeply, farmers may reduce the harvesting, since the oranges on tree have not reached the ideal maturation stage yet. Thus, citrus farmers may prefer to wait for the beginning of activities at processing plants. The industry’s purchase proposals for the oranges from the 2022/23 season have been up to BRL 32.00/box (harvested and delivered).

Although two plants of the large-sized processors were processing oranges in late April, activities were slow because of low supply. By the end of last month, only one plant was purchasing early oranges (as long as ratio is near or higher than 14).

The prices for Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent rose high at ICE Futures in the first fortnight of April, reflecting the current low world supply, majorly in Brazil and in Florida (USA). Between April 1st and 13, the May/22 contract for orange juice increased by 20 %, and in 2022, by more than 30 %, closing at USD 2,650/ton on April 13.

Indeed, orange production (and juice production) in the Brazilian citrus belt (São Paulo State and the Triângulo Mineiro) decreased in the 2021/22 crop, which is practically over. According to a report released by Fundecitrus in the first half of April, the Brazilian citrus belt is expected to harvest 262.97 million boxes (40.8-kilograms) of oranges, 10.6 % down from the first estimates (May/21) and 2.2 % lower than that in the previous season.

This context will influence the Brazilian supply of orange juice, since the citrus belt is the major orange-producing region in Brazil. In February, Citrus BR estimated that, by the end of the season (in June 2022), the national stocks of orange juice (forecast at 127 thousand tons) will not be enough to ensure the world supply until the new crop (2022/23) steps up.

The same scenario is observed in Florida, where production estimates were revised down by the USDA by 19 % compared to the expected in Oct/21, to 38.2 million boxes, 28 % lower than that last season.

Lower production in the current and in previous seasons is reflecting on local stocks. According to the Florida Department of Citrus, from the beginning of the 2021/22 crop, in Oct/21, to March 26, 2022, the stocks of FCOJ were 31 % lower than that in the same period of the previous season. For not-from-concentrate orange juice, stocks were 25 % lower.

In this context, although the United States did not increase imports of concentrated orange juice – which decreased by 4.6 % between Oct/21 and Jan/22, according to the Florida Department of Citrus –, they increased purchases of not-from-concentrate orange juice. Brazil supplied 85 % of all the not-from-concentrate orange juice and 71 % of the FCOJ imported by the USA.

These estimates for Brazil and the USA explain the recent valuations of orange juice at ICE Futures. In both countries, supply is not expected to recover in the coming season (2022/23).

In the Brazilian citrus belt, although orange production may increase slightly, a higher harvest would not be enough to raise stocks and ensure world supply, since the current volume stocked is very low. In Florida, with the high incidence of greening on orchards (which has been lowering the average productivity of orange trees) and the smaller area with orange orchards in the state in the last years, production is not expected to return to the levels observed in previous decades.

The weather has been favouring the development of the 2022/23 orange crop. In general, frequent rainfall (since mid-October 2021) is helping the oranges to grow bigger and, thus, agents expect productivity to recover from the two previous seasons, when the volume harvested was low.

According to Cepea collaborators, the general scenario has been more favourable this year. Although the first blooming was late in some orchards (in mid-September in irrigated orchards and in October in dry land, after the return or rains), the number of flowers was considered positive, complemented by other blooming in the following months. Besides, the fruits set rate was high, favoured by rains followed by sunny days most of the time.

It is important to highlight that the damages caused by the long drought in the last two years (and frosts in some areas last Winter) were not completely offset, however, orange trees are currently more vigorous, leading agents to believe that productivity will be higher this season. Still, agents have distinct estimates about the harvest: some, who are more pessimistic, expect 300 million boxes to be harvested, while others, more optimistic, believe it will hit 350 million boxes. However, most of them expect something between 300 and 350 million boxes.

The only available estimates were released by the USDA in December, indicating the crop in São Paulo and the Triângulo Mineiro to total 305 million boxes (15.5 % higher than that in 2021/22). Agents are waiting for Fundecitrus’s estimates, to be released in May.

It is worth to mention that, despite the production increase, orange supply is expected to be tight in the 2022/23 season, due to the high demand from processors to replenish juice stocks – which are forecast at 127 thousand tons by the end of the 2021/22 season, in June 2022, according to estimates from CitrusBR. Still according to CitrusBR, this volume will not be enough to meet the world demand until the new season steps up.

In that scenario, even if the volume produced is near the expected by the more optimistic, there should not be an orange surplus, which justifies the high prices bid by processors for 2022/23.

This scenario may also limit supply in the in natura market along the season, however, this would not ensure higher prices, since the purchase power of many consumers in Brazil is weak because of the current high inflation and the national economic scenario.

Tahiti lime prices faded in São Paulo State in the first fortnight of March. According to Cepea collaborators, the current hot weather in Brazil has been favoring consumption, however, supply is high, due to the peak of harvest. Thus, quotations were pressed down.

However, many farmers reported that supply is beginning to decrease. The harvesting, which has been in full swing since mid-January, is expected to slow down until the end of March.

During the peak of harvest in 2022 (January – March), the quotations for tahiti lime have been lower than that in the same period of 2021. From the beginning of the year until March 10th, the average price for this variety closed at BRL 21.92/box, harvested, 1.8 % down from that in the first quarter of 2021, in nominal terms. Only in January/22 prices were higher than that in Jan/21.

The lower volume to be harvested in the coming weeks is expected to limit processing. By the end of the first fortnight, four plants were operating in SP, paying from BRL 18 to BRL 20.00 per 27-kilo box, harvested and delivered to processors.

EXPORTS – Brazilian exports of lemon and lime have been high this year. According to Secex, in the first two months of 2022, Brazil shipped to all destinations 22 thousand tons of lemons and limes, 17.1 % up from that in the same period last year, only lower than that in the first bimester of 2020. Revenue total USD 17.3 million, 11.9 % up in the same comparison. Despite higher volume and revenue, the average price (in dollar) paid for the fruit is lower than that from the same period of 2021.

In February, exports performance was a record for the month, favored by high supply in SP and higher quality of the fruits (because of recent rainfall). According to Secex, Brazil shipped 11.8 thousand tons of lemon and lime in February, 13.4 % up from that in Feb/21. Revenue totaled USD 9.2 million, 9.5 % up, in the same comparison.

Orange prices increased in the Brazilian in natura market in the first fortnight of February. According to Cepea collaborators, frequent rains in the citrus belt (São Paulo State) favoured the quality (majorly the size) of oranges, making them suitable for sale in the in natura segment and allowing farmers to raise asking prices. Besides, rainfall also hampered the harvesting, limiting supply. In that scenario, values remained firm.

Usually, orange availability is not high in February – a month that may even be considered offseason –, however, as the 2021/22 season is late, supply is currently higher. Still, there is not an orange surplus in the domestic market, since processing at industries has been faster than usual this month.

So far, the number of early varieties to be harvested is not high – activities are expected to step up only from March onwards. However, supply may be constrained by the low flower set in the first blooming. Thus, the oranges currently available in the in natura market are mostly late varieties and pear oranges out of the ideal period.

TAHITI LIME – The production of tahiti lime is also being favoured by rains, however, farmers reported difficulties to harvest the fruits, which underpinned prices in the first fortnight of February, although it is currently the peak of harvest for tahiti lime in Brazil.

Despite the recent valuations for oranges and tahiti lime, Cepea collaborators have reported that the current economic scenario in Brazil is still constraining higher price rises. With high unemployment and inflation rates and lower income, the purchase power of many consumers is weak.

ESTIMATES – Although rains have favoured the quality of part of the fruits in orchards, they have not been enough to reverse all the damages caused by the drought to the oranges from the 2021/22 season.

According to data from Fundecitrus released on Feb. 10, the orange output (São Paulo + Triângulo Mineiro) in the 2021/22 season is still estimated at 264.14 million boxes of 40.8 kilograms, the same as that estimated in December, but 10 % below that forecast at the beginning of the season.

According to Somar/Climatempo (weather forecast agency), rainfall in SP between May/21 and Jan/22 was 25 % below the average for the period. In the Triângulo Mineiro, rains were 5 % higher than the average. Thus, orange growth was hampered, and the average fruit weight decreased. However, it is important to consider that the oranges harvested in February and in March 2022 are expected to be slightly larger, since they have been favoured by recent rains.

The volume harvested is still enough to replenish ending stocks at the processing plants in SP. According to CitrusBR, by the end of the 2021/22 season (in June 2022), the volume of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (Equivalent) stocked is expected to total 170 – 190 thousand tons, lower than the strategic level (250 thousand tons). It is important to consider that new estimates are supposed to be released until the end of February.

In this scenario, the harvest in 2022/23 needs to be large enough to raise stocks at least to the strategic level and thus prevent a world shortage of orange juice. Cepea calculations show that the orange output next season needs to total, at least, 330 million boxes in order to raise juice stocks to 250 thousand tons.

PROGRESS OF THE 2021/22 HARVESTING – According to Fundecitrus’ report, 82 % of the orange orchards had been harvested by mid-January/22, similar to that in the same period last season (81 %).

In 2021, orange prices were high in São Paulo State (SP) and in the Triângulo Mineiro. In general, the industry in SP kept the demand high for fruits, and the low production limited the supply throughout the year. Although the remuneration (in BRL per box) had been higher, the profitability for many citrus growers was restricted, given that the limited productivity increased the cost of production per unit even more.

Fundecitrus (Citrus Defense Fund) indicated, in its estimate released in December/21, that the production in the citrus belt may reduce 1.7 % compared to 2020/21, totaling 264.14 million 40.8-boxes. Even with the positive biennial cycle in the 2021/22 season and the higher fruit load, oranges have presented a smaller size, which explains the lower production.

From May to August 2021, rainfall accounted for only 30 % of the regular volume for the period, according to data from Somar Meteorologia/Climatempo. Fundecitrus says that this scenario affected even irrigated orange groves (which correspond to 30 % of the citrus belt), due to the limited water supply in tanks. In some areas, frosts in July worsened the situation. Besides the small-sized oranges, the premature fruit drop was one of the worst in history.

Due to the low supply of fruits, orange juice processors boosted prices compared to the 2020/21 season. In the partial of the crop (from July to December/21), the average price in the spot market was 27.50 BRL/40.8-kilo box, harvested and delivered at the industry, for a nominal increase of 22.5 % in relation to the same period last year.

EXPORTS – As expected, orange juice (volume equivalent to concentrate juice) shipments finished the 2020/21 season with a 7 % decrease in relation to the previous (2019/20). From July/20 to June/21, shipments to all destinations totaled 1.03 million tons, according to data from Secex. The revenue, in turn, amounted 1.54 billion USD, 15 % down compared to the season before.

IN NATURA MARKET – Orange prices hit nominal records in most part of 2021. Increases are attributed to the limited supply in the 2021/22 crop, because of the low volume of rainfall and high temperatures in the second semester of 2020 and the low humidity in 2021. From the second semester of 2021 onwards, the low quality of fruits (due to a long period of dry weather and frosts in July) reinforced the upward trend. In the partial of the crop (from July to December/21), the average price for pear oranges (in natura) is at BRL 39.52/40.8-kilo box, on tree, 20 % up from the average in the same period in 2020, in nominal terms.

TAHITI – The price trend was atypical in 2021. Values were low in the first semester and in some periods of the second part of the year, and peak prices were less intense. From January to December, the average price for tahiti lime was at BRL 25.19/27-kilo box, harvested, 31.3 % lower compared to that in 2020.

The current number of flowers in the orange orchards in São Paulo – which will give origin to the fruits from the 2022/23 season – is considered satisfactory in most citrus-producing regions within the state. In general, while in irrigated orchards blooming was observed from September onwards, in non-irrigated orchards, flowers were only observed in October, after the late arrival of rainfall.

Agents have been concerned about the possible effects of the lack of rains this year on the vigor of orange trees, since low moisture may hamper fruit set, increasing the rate of fruitlet fall in irrigated orchards and, largely, in the orchards in dryland.

According to forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there is a 90 % chance of La Niña forming in Brazil until the end of 2021. If this is confirmed, rainfall in the coming months may be lower than usual in the southeastern region of the country. However, La Niña is forecast to be weak in Brazil.

This scenario may have a negative influence on the output from the 2022/23 season, since the development stage of plants in the coming months demands good amounts of water. With estimates for low ending stocks of orange juice in the 2021/22 season, the output from 2022/23 needs to be high in order to ensure comfortable inventories for world supply.

Cepea calculations show that, for ending stocks in the 2022/23 season (June 2023) to return to the strategic level of 250 thousand tons, the output next season needs to surpass 330 million boxes of 40.8 kilograms each. In this context, the average productivity would have to be around a thousand boxes per hectare, which has only been observed in seasons favored by the weather.

The price for pear oranges has been on the rise in Brazil since the beginning of the season, in June, influenced by the low supply of oranges in the market. In the second fortnight of October, pear orange prices surpassed BRL 50.00/40.8-kilo box, on tree, setting a new nominal record in the series of Cepea. The monthly average in October (in São Paulo State) closed at BRL 49.88/box, on tree, 10.1 % up from that in September/21 and 28.3 % above that in October/20, in nominal terms.

Agents in the Brazilian citrus sector did not expect supply in the 2021/22 season to be high, based on the effects of the weather on blooming and flower set. However, along the season, weather issues increased, with rainfall below the ideal and frosts in some locations at the end of July.

Although rains were more frequent in October, agents reported that the oranges were mostly small-sized, which kept the prices for larger-sized fruits on the rise – since this standard is required in the in natura segment. From November onwards, quality may increase, and a higher number of late oranges is expected to be available in the market. On the other hand, high purchases from the industry are also expected to control supply in the in natura market.

TAHITI LIME – In the Brazilian market of tahiti lime, the return of rains favored production and raised supply. Besides, the quality of the fruits continued low, and the exports pace was slow in October. Thus, prices for this variety dropped in the orchards in SP, averaging BRL 23.15/27-kilo box, harvested, 21.8 % down from that in September.

ORCHARDS – The rains that hit São Paulo State in October favored blooming in orange orchards, largely in dryland or those that had not bloomed yet. According to citrus farmers, the scenario varied among regions, according to the volume of rain and the production system (irrigated or dryland), but, in general, all agents agree that blooming was satisfactory.

As in previous seasons, this year’s flowering has been irregular and heterogeneous. While in some regions, orchards bloomed earlier (in September), in others, flowering was observed in October. However, the early flowers were compromised by the hot and dry weather in many areas, which led some of the fruitlets to fall, even in irrigated orchards.

Citrus farmers believe this will be another season of multiple blooming, which would hamper both the harvesting and management of trees because of the different development stages of flowers – as it happened in most Brazilian regions in the last years.

Although flowering brought some relief to citrus farmers in all regions, it is important to consider that plants are still debilitated, due to the long drought, which may hamper fruit fixing. Thus, the success of the recent blooming will depend on the weather from now onwards (high moisture interleaved with sunny periods) and preventive care for blossom-end rot. According to Cptec/Inpe (weather forecast agency), rains may be lower than the average in November and in December, which may be a reflex of the La Niña phenomenon, and hamper flower set.

The return of rains to important citrus-producing regions in São Paulo State (SP) cheered up farmers about flower development. However, it is still early to estimate results for the 2022/23 season, since the set of fruitlets will depend on the weather along October and more flowers may open until the end of the month.

According to data from Inmet (National Institute of Meteorology), rainfall is expected to average 50 mm in most citrus-producing regions in October.

ORANGE MARKET – The trading pace for oranges was slow in the Brazilian market in the first fortnight of October because of the holiday on the 12th. Higher rainfall is expected to improve the quality of the fruits on tree, although they have not reached the ideal standard to be sold yet. This scenario added to low supply pushed up orange prices in that period.

TAHITI LIME – In the market of tahiti lime, prices faded in the first half of October, reflecting the small size of the fruits available, which is not appreciated in the in natura market. In the second week of the month, values increased slightly, influenced by higher demand during the holiday (on the 12th), which surprised farmers.

ORANGE JUICE EXPORTS – The Brazilian exports of orange juice are on the rise in the current season (2021/22). According to data from Secex (Foreign Trade Secretariat), between July and September, Brazil exported 278.9 thousand tons of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent to all destinations, 19 % up from that in the same period last season. Revenue increased more sharply, by 32 %, reflecting the higher prices paid for the product, totaling USD 440.8 million. Of the total volume shipped this season, 20 % were sent to the United States – the volume exported to the USA has increased by 33 %, and the revenue received from the country, by 51 %.

Estimates about the 2021/22 orange season in the Brazilian citrus belt (São Paulo and the Triângulo Mineiro) have been revised down, due to weather issues in Brazil. Data released by Fundecitrus (Citrus Defense Fund) in September estimated the harvest to be 8.9 % lower than that forecast in the first report, released in May, at 267.87 million boxes. In light of that, the output may be similar to that in the previous season (268.63 million boxes). Although the 2021/22 season is a positive biennial cycle, oranges have been smaller, which explains lower production.

Although the estimates from May considered rainfall below the average, weather issues have increased since then, with frosts and severe drought. Between May and August, rainfall accounted for 30 % of the usual for the period, according to data from Somar/Climatempo Meteorologia (weather forecast agency).

The lack of rains has been damaging majorly the plants in dryland, however, agents from Fundecitrus highlight that even irrigated orchards (which account for 30 % of the trees in the citrus belt) have been debilitated by the drought, due to the limited availability of water at reservoirs. It is important to mention that the scenario has worsened since the frosts in late July.

Besides the smaller size of the oranges, the rate of premature fall of fruits is one of the highest. As the weather is forecast to continue unfavourable until the end of the season, the scenario is not expected to change, raising expectations for low production in 2021/22. Also, the chance of La Niña phenomena to occur until late 2021 is high, which may result in lower rainfall in southeastern Brazil in the second semester. This scenario would limit the growth of late varieties.

INDUSTRY – With the probable lower harvest of oranges in the 2021/22 season, the number of fruits allocated to processors is supposed to be lower too. CitrusBR (Brazilian Association of Citrus Exporters) has not revised processing estimates yet, but Cepea forecasts the industry to purchase around 225 million boxes of oranges (40-8 kilograms each) this season. If this is confirmed and sales of orange juice are near the usual, juice inventories are expected to decrease steeply, to less than 200 thousand tons (Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice Equivalent), even with higher yield at processing plants, which usually happens in years of low rainfall.

This context will demand high orange production in the 2022/23 season (higher than 330 million boxes) so that ending stocks are replenished with no risk of world shortages. This situation may favor the prices paid to farmers in Brazil.

In early September, orange trees bloomed in some orchards in São Paulo State (SP). These flowers will become the fruits from the 2022/23 season. Cepea collaborators reported higher blooming in irrigated orchards, majorly in northern and northwestern SP.

However, citrus farmers have been concerned about the effects of the weather on flower settlement. In dryland orchards, which count exclusively on rainfall for moisture, precipitation has been insufficient to trigger blooming.

According to Somar Meteorologia (weather forecast agency), rainfall was low in the major citrus-producing regions in SP in the first half of September. Thus, while it does not rain significantly, farmers are investing in plant nutrition in order to help on fruit set.

During fruit set (after blooming), temperatures and soil and air moisture deeply influence production. However, in the last years, high temperatures and rainfall below the average were common, limiting the output, largely in non-irrigated orchards.

Climatempo (weather forecast agency) forecasts rains for the second fortnight of September, and rainfall is expected to be within the average in the month in most citrus-producing regions in Brazil, except in southern SP. On the other hand, according to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), there is a 70 % chance that La Niña phenomena may return to Brazil until the end of 2021.

In Brazil, La Niña increases rainfall in the northeastern region and delays precipitation in the south. In southeastern BR, the scenario becomes similar to that in the southern area of the country, which concerns agents, in light of the current drought. For citrus farming, this delay may cause more damages to the 2022/23 harvest, since the coming months are critical for the development of trees, when higher moisture is needed.

BRAZILIAN MARKET IN SEPTEMBER – The demand for oranges increased in the in natura market in the first fortnight of September, favored by high temperatures and the payment of workers’ wages early in the month. As regards supply, the hot and dry weather in SP continued to limit the availability of high-quality fruits in the market (most of them are wilted and small-sized). In this scenario, prices increased.

By the end of the 2020/21 season, in June 2021, the inventories of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) equivalent at Brazilian processors totaled 316.93 thousand tons, according to data from CitrusBR (Brazilian Association of Citrus Exporters) released in mid-August. Compared to that at the end of the 2019/20 season, inventories decreased by 33 %. This reduction was already expected by agents, due to the slower crushing pace of oranges in 2020/21, when orange production was low.

CitrusBR avoided releasing estimates for the current season because of the weather issues (extended drought in the citrus belt and frosts in late July) in the major citrus-producing regions in Brazil, which are still concerning agents. However, ending stocks in the 2021/22 season (by June 2022) may be lower than the strategic level.

So far, considering Fundecitrus’ (Citrus Defense Fund) production estimates from May, of 294 million boxes (40.8 kilograms each), the volume processed may be around 250 million boxes. In that scenario, Cepea data indicate that ending stocks in the 2021/22 season (which ends in June/22) may not be enough to generate a world surplus of orange juice.

Also, agents in the Brazilian citrus sector believe that the estimates from Fundecitrus will be revised down, due to the drought and frosts in Brazil. In this context, the volume processed may be revised too, and juice inventories may be even lower. Thus, processors will depend on higher orange production in 2022/23 to, at least, replenish inventories – which is a concern too, considering that the effects of the weather may be extended to the coming season, since many trees are currently debilitated.

As regards orange processing, the crushing pace for the fruits from 2021/22 was fast in August at the large-sized plants in São Paulo State (SP), with mostly pear oranges being crushed.

Orange processing is expected to last until mid-February/March 2022, with less plants in activity compared to that in the second semester of 2021, however, with higher volumes being produced than that in the same period of previous years, because of the delay in the development of trees (due to weather issues) and irregular flowering. It is worth to consider that the 2021/22 season is expected to have higher volumes of fruits from the third and fourth flowering events (altogether) since Fundecitrus began estimating crops, in 2015/16 – making it a late crop.

BRAZILIAN MARKET IN AUGUST – The demand for oranges was low in the Brazilian market in August, constrained by the current high price levels and lower quality of the oranges available (small-sized and wilted). Still, prices increased, boosted by low supply.

The intense cold observed in São Paulo State (SP) in late July hit the orchards located in the citrus belt, with frosts registered in some areas. This scenario increased agents’ concerns about both orange production in the current season and the vitality of trees in the coming season – it is worth to mention that agents were already worried about these factors because of the lack of rains this year.

These agents are concerned about the vitality of the trees in all the groves hit by the recent frosts, since they are nearing the period of flower induction already debilitated by the lower rainfall in the last two years. However, it is worth to mention that it is still early to assess the damages caused by the bad weather, majorly the effects on the volume to be harvested next season.

Considering the current season (2021/22), the quality of the oranges on tree is expected to decrease, since some of the fruits affected by the frosts in late June/early July are dry and crystalised in the inside – these are undesired traits for both the in natura and the industrial segments, since the oranges have almost no juice in that condition. Besides, fruits dropped down in the areas that were already debilitated by the drought.

As regards next season (2022/23), the younger trees (which are currently sprouting) are expected to be the most damaged by the frosts. In the irrigated groves where flowering was anticipated, the effects of the bad weather are a concern too, since flowers may have been burned, as well as small fruits. It is worth to highlight that the recent frosts were not homogeneous, and it is still impossible to affirm that the volume to be produced in 2022/23 will be affected.

PONKAN TANGERINE – Although ponkan tangerine is more sensitive to temperature swings, the volume to be harvested in SP is not forecast to be affected, since the harvesting is practically over. On the other hand, in Minas Gerais, the volume to be harvested is higher, and there may be negative effects on the quality of the fruits.

TAHITI LIME – For this variety, although damages have not been assessed yet, concerns are higher, since tahiti lime is very sensitive to weather changes. Besides, differently from oranges, whose groves are mostly in the ripening stage or being harvested, development is at different stages among the regions with tahiti lime, with some of them in the flowering stage. According to Cepea collaborators, the intense cold caused the drop of some small fruitlets, flower buds and flowers.

Orange juice (volume equivalent to concentrate juice) exports finished the 2020/21 season downing 7 % compared to the previous (2019/20). From July 2020 to June 2021, shipments to all destinations totaled 1.03 million tons, according to Secex. The revenue, in turn, amounted 1.54 billion USD, for a decrease of 15 % in relation to the season before.

The low performance is related to the smaller orange supply in the Brazilian citrus belt (São Paulo and Triângulo Mineiro), but players from the industry say that international prices (in USD) were not very high. On the average of the season, prices of the concentrate juice (which accounts for most of the revenue obtained) were 11 % lower, according to Secex. On the other hand, NFC (not-from-concentrate) values were 8 % higher in the same comparison. It is important to mention that the dollar valuation favored the revenue in Real (BRL).

The decrease was mostly influenced by the European Union, a major purchaser of the Brazilian product: it imported 649.95 thousand tons, 13 % down compared to the season before. The revenue was 982.86 million USD, for a decrease of 20 % in the same comparison.

Exports to the United States, in turn, increased. In general, besides consecutive reductions in the orange production in Florida (limiting local inventories), the pandemic scenario has favoured the demand in some periods, due to the healthy aspect of consuming the product. Shipments totaled 198.34 thousand tons in the 2020/21 season, 13 % up compared to the previous. The revenue rose 7 %, totaling 297.53 million USD.

As for the 2021/22 season, which starts in July, Brazilian exports may again be limited due to smaller orange production and low pace of consumption. However, the economic recovery is likely to favour sales.

The volume of orange juice stocked at Brazilian processors in the 2020/21 season (June 2021) is expected to be higher than the strategic limit (250 thousand tons). On the other hand, in the 2021/22 season (June 2022), the volume stocked may be lower than that.

As regards the 2020/21 crop, a report released by CitrusBR (Brazilian Association of Citrus Exporters) on June 9 indicates that the inventories of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent may total 310.759 thousand tons in June 2021, 34 % down from that in the same period of the 2019/20 season, but 14 % up from that previously estimated (in February 2021).

In the 2021/22 season, although oranges still need to ripen, juice inventories are likely to decrease, despite the possible recovery of production forecast by Fundecitrus (Citrus Defense Fund).

Although this scenario is not a threat to world supply in the 2021/22 season, it has been concerning agents about availability in the following season (2022/23), since production would have to be higher in order to avoid a lack of juice. However, with the recent area reduction in the Brazilian citrus belt, production should hardly surpass 350 million boxes. Thus, the prices paid to orange farmers in Brazil are likely to continue at high levels, at least until next season.

ORANGE AREA IN BRAZIL – The crop forecast survey released by Fundecitrus in late May surprised agents from the Brazilian citrus sector. The area allocated to orange groves in the 2021/22 season had its second largest decrease – in terms of both hectares and percentage – since the beginning of the PES project, in 2015/16.

In the 2021/22 season, the area allocated to orange groves might total 379.4 thousand hectares, 16.262 hectares smaller (- 4 %) than that in the previous season.

According to Fundecitrus, one of the reasons for this decrease is the drought, which is becoming more and more severe in Brazil, majorly in the current season. Thus, area reductions were more significant in the citrus-producing regions of São Paulo that had low rainfall in the last couple of years, with the worst effects observed in non-irrigated, condensed and rootstock groves, which are not that drought-resistant. In these groves, productivity decreased sharply last season, and many plants died. Besides, the current high prices of some commodities, such as corn, soybean and sugar, have attracted farmers.

This area reduction should considerably lower the productive potential of the citrus belt to around 340 million boxes of 40.8 kilograms in years of good productivity (1,000 boxes per hectare, on average).

BRAZILIAN MARKET IN JUNE – The weak demand for oranges in the in natura market of SP along with the current low temperatures pressed down orange prices in the first fortnight of June. However, expectations are for limited price drops or even price rises as processing steps up, reducing supply in the in natura market, largely of early varieties.

With the anticipation of the drought and rainfall below the average in the first quarter of 2021 in São Paulo (SP), the development of the oranges from the 2021/22 season is below the expected, majorly in non-irrigated groves. At the current stage of groves development (fruit enlargement), moisture is crucial, which is warning farmers about the volume to be harvested this season.

So far, it is believed that production will be small, but larger than that in the 2020/21 season (due to the weather in the second semester of 2020 and its effects on flowering and settlement).

Besides the number of fruits, which is not forecast to be high, citrus farmers have been concerned about quality issues that may occur because of low moisture. The top complaints are related to size (since fruits may take longer to reach the ideal size) and wilted oranges (riper fruits), largely pear and early oranges. On the other hand, until the end of April, fruit drop, which may also be worsened by the lack of rain, was not significant, according to farmers.

In order to avoid higher quality loss, some farmers may accelerate the harvesting, even if the oranges have not reached the ideal size and ripening, which may hamper sales and constrain price rises.

INDUSTRIAL YIELD – On the other hand, industrial yield may be favored by the lack of rainfall in citrus-producing regions, since less boxes of oranges may be necessary to produce a ton of concentrated juice.

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.

The Brazilian exports of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) equivalent are currently 17 % lower than that in the previous season, according to Secex. Between July 2020 and February 2021 (2020/21 season), shipments totaled 670.7 thousand tons. Revenue from these exports totaled 985.19 million USD, 27 % down from that in the same period last season.

Among the major purchasers of the Brazilian juice, the European Union was the one that most reduced purchases. From July/20 to Feb/21, shipments to the EU totaled 419.7 thousand tons, 22 % down from that in the previous season. Revenue totaled 626.44 million USD, 32 % down in the same comparison.

Exports to the United States have been more stable, totaling 135.83 thousand tons, very similar to that from the previous season. Revenue totaled 201.62 million USD, 8 % down in the period.

The third production estimates for the Brazilian citrus belt (São Paulo and the Triângulo Mineiro) in the 2020/21 season, released by Fundecitrus on Wednesday, February 10, indicates that orange supply should total 269.01 million boxes of 40.8-kilograms each. This volume is 6.52 % lower than that initially estimated and 30.45 % below that in the previous season. This is also the worst annual decrease in all times.

As low supply has been confirmed, orange prices continue firm in the Brazilian market. According to Fundecitrus estimates, 81 % of the fruits had been harvested up to mid-January. The harvesting of pear oranges has reached 82 % of the volume forecast, and for the late varieties (valencia, folha murcha and natal), 75 %.

According to Fundecitrus, the biennial production cycle and the unfavorable weather (drought and high temperatures) in the second semester of 2019 (flowering) and 2020 (fruit-filling stage) led to the current crop failure. The report from Fundecitrus also points that, although rainfall was higher in the citrus belt in December 2020 (8 % up from the average), it was lower, irregular and short in January, due to the La Niña phenomenon.

Thus, the average weight of the oranges harvested was lower – usually, 261 fruits fill up a box, meaning that each orange should weight 156 grams, 8 % down from the average of the last five crops.

PRODUCTIVITY – Low productivity this season has been majorly linked to late varieties and pear oranges. Thus, with lower volumes, the demand from processors continues high, which is controlling both supply and prices in the first months of 2021.

PRICES – In the market of tahiti lime, supply was high in the first fortnight of February, due to the peak of harvest, however, sales were firm. According to Cepea collaborators, the increase of crushing was leading agents from processors to search for fruits in the in natura market, pushing up quotes in São Paulo. It is important to highlight that the supply of lower quality fruits is high, which is discouraging exports.

On the other hand, orange prices were fading in the first half of the February. Despite the beginning of the month (when workers’ wages are paid) and the low supply of high-quality fruits, low demand was limiting sales. Farmers expect demand to increase when the first oranges harvested are available, since their quality should be higher – however, this is forecast for mid-March only.

Price averages of all orange varieties were firm in January in São Paulo state and may continue high in February. The lower production in the citrus belt (São Paulo and Triângulo Mineiro) in the 2020/21 season and difficulties to harvest in some areas, due to rains, underpinned values. Moreover, the supply of high-quality orange was low – most fruits available in January had characteristics unwanted by consumers, such as large size and thick peel.

In January/21, pera rio orange quotes averaged 39.06 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, 27.9 % up compared to January/20, but a decrease of 3.6 % in relation to December/20, in nominal terms. As for lima orange, the average was 73.85 BRL/box, 101 % up in the annual comparison, but 8.6 % lower in relation to December/20. Natal orange values averaged 35.07 BRL per box (+29.9 % in one year, but -3.4 % compared to the month before).

Values may continue at high levels to citrus growers in February, mainly for high-quality fruits in the in natura market. The loss of fruitlets and the low rate of established flowers last year that now result in a limited volume of out-of-season oranges favor this scenario. As for the demand, it can increase in February because of high temperatures.

As for the first oranges harvested in the 2021/22 season in Jales, where major flowerings are advanced, they can be available from March onwards. However, due to the dry weather in the second semester of 2020 and the consequent low rate of flowers established, the volume may not be very high.

TAHITI LIME – The peak season in São Paulo continued to press down tahiti lime prices in late January. However, producers reported problems brought by hot weather and rains, which can increase the allocation of fruits to crushing activities and limit the supply in the in natura market.

After the low production in the 2020/21 season, agents expect a limited orange crop in 2021/22 in São Paulo State and the Triângulo Mineiro, due to unfavorable weather conditions. This scenario tends to underpin orange prices in 2021.

The first estimates for the 2021/22 crop, released by the USDA in December/2020, indicate that the harvest in SP and the Triângulo Mineiro should total 315 million boxes of 40.8-kilos each, 17 % up from that in the previous season. Despite this recovery, this volume does not mean the productive potential of crops will be recovered because of the bad weather conditions in these regions.

Thus, a harvest of 315 million boxes is not high, and therefore may not be enough to totally offset orange juice inventories. On the other hand, it should favor farmers’ revenue for one more year, due to the firm industrial demand. It is worth to mention that these estimates may change, since it is still early to assess production, majorly this year. Fundecitrus should release estimates only in May 2021.

INVENTORIES – Data from CitrusBR indicate that initial inventories in the 2021/22 season may be from 240 to 280 thousand tons in July/21. Although this volume is not lower than the strategic level established, the small harvest in the 2021/22 season may limit the volume by the end of the season, in June 2022.

CONTRACTS WITH THE INDUSTRY – Deals for the new season have not been closed. As the volume produced is still uncertain, reasonable prices cannot be fixed either. Besides, in the 2020/21 season, many processors closed deals for the following crop. Thus, a higher volume of fruits from the coming season has already been sold. Still, prices are expected to be positive in this segment, since the demand from the industry should be high.

IN NATURA MARKET – Higher industrial demand should keep orange prices on the rise in the in natura market in 2021/22. As the 2021/22 crop is expected to be late again, the prices of early oranges should be favored, and quotes should be underpinned, since the pear orange crop may be late.

In general, citrus prices were high in São Paulo State in 2020. With the lower orange production in the Brazilian citrus belt (São Paulo and the Triângulo Mineiro) in the 2020/21 season due to bad weather conditions, the demand from processors for fruits continued high along the year, which underpinned prices.

According to a report released by Fundecitrus on December 10, crop failure in the citrus belt (SP and the Triângulo Mineiro) should be the worst since 1988/1989, when the series began. In total, orange production should be 30 % lower in the 2020/21 season, totaling 269.36 million boxes of 40.8 kilos each.

INDUSTRIAL PRICES – Although processors began the 2020/21 season with high volumes of juice stocked – 471 thousand tons of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent, according to CitrusBR –, low orange supply kept the demand for fruits high, which reflects on bidding prices.

On the average of the 2020/21 season, prices in the spot market between July and November closed at 23.51 BRL/box, 17.8 % up from that in the same period of 2019 and 7 % above that in the same period of 2018, in nominal terms.

IN NATURA MARKET – Higher demand from the industry lowered the availability of fruits in the in natura market, since some farmers who usually sell to the in natura market preferred to allocate their fruits to processors, due to the uncertainties caused by the covid-19 pandemic and the attractive prices bid by processors. This scenario added to the weather issues and high demand pushed up orange prices (in natura) all the year. For the variety pera rio, prices hit the highest level of the year in November, when the average was 43.35 BRL/box, on tree, 54.6 % up from that in Nov/19, in nominal terms.

Although the harvesting of the 2020/21 orange crop is advancing in Brazil, delivery to processors in São Paulo State (SP) was slow in November. According to Cepea collaborators, this scenario is linked to the lack of rains in the citrus-producing regions in SP in the last months, which limited both quality and supply, hampering activities at processing plants. On the other hand, rainfall in late November increased ratio and brix, favoring the juice produced in that period.

As regards the deals for the coming season (2021/22), the large-sized processors of orange juice in SP have been more interested in closing deals. However, bids have not been fixed and there may be an additional for participation in juice sales to the international market. Most citrus farmers are waiting for a better definition of the crop, since it seems the bad weather conditions this year may affect results.

SPOT – In the current season, large-sized processors are bidding prices up to 24.00 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, while bids from smaller-sized processors have been up to 28.00 BRL/box – late and pear oranges account for the most varieties processed. In November (until Nov. 26), prices averaged 24.46 BRL/box, 20.7 % up from the average in Nov/19, in nominal terms.

However, it is worth to mention that one of the large-sized processors was not closing deals in the spot market in November because of both the low supply of higher quality and larger-sized fruits and the competition with the domestic market, since prices have been attractive in this segment, and farmers are opting for selling fruits in natura.

Orange prices have been on the rise in the Brazilian in natura market this month – the upward trend of quotes has been observed since July. Although the share of late varieties is increasing in the in natura market, in general, supply is low, while consumption is increasing sharply, due to the current high temperatures in Brazil.

Between October 1st and 15th, the average price for pear oranges was 36.52 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, 14.7 % higher than that in the first fortnight of September.

Low supply, mainly of high-quality oranges, is expected to keep prices on the rise in Brazil in the coming weeks. Besides, estimates for a 26 % decrease in the output of the 2020/21 crop should be revised, due to the drought and high temperatures in São Paulo State, which should reduce even more the volume harvested compared to the official estimates.

Data released in early October by the ABCM (Brazilian Association of In Natura Citrus) indicate that the 2020/21 citrus crops in São Paulo and in Minas Gerais States are, indeed, going to be lower. The drought faced by the sector in the major producing months hampered the development of fruits, which are small-sized. ABCM reported that, soon, the retail market and distributors may have lower supply of in natura citrus – or even a lack of products.

ABCM entrenches that the high temperatures and low rains between July and August damaged the fruits from the second flowering in the 2020/21 crop, which accounted for most of the output. In this scenario, agents believe that Fudencitrus’ next estimates, forecast to be released in December, may be revised down.

ORANGE JUICE – The 2020/21 orange crop in Florida was damaged by the hot and dry weather, which constrained groves’ productivity. Thus, the American orange output should be lower, which may lead the country to import higher amounts of orange juice. This scenario may favor the Brazilian sector, since Brazil is the top supplier of orange juice to the United States.

Between Oct/19 and Jul/20 (2019/20 season), the USA imported lower volumes of orange juice: 38 % of concentrated juice and 39.5 % of fresh juice, compared to that in the previous season, according to the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC).

Although the Brazilian juice is losing market share to that from Mexico, the orange harvest from Mexico in the 2019/20 season (Nov/19 to Oct/20) decreased sharply, which may constrain juice production. According to the USDA, the Mexican supply should be 45 % lower than that in the previous season, and orange juice production, 60 % lower. Although initial inventories are high, juice supply should be 50 % lower.

However, it is worth to mention that the crops from São Paulo and the Triângulo Mineiro should also be lower in 2020/21. According to a report from Fundecitrus released last month, the harvest in the Brazilian citrus belt should total 286.72 million boxes, 26 % down compared to that in the previous season. This volume may decrease even more because of the drought in this region in the past months, which may even reduce supply in the 2021/22 season.