Orange supply is expected to gradually increase in June, however, the demand for the fruit is also supposed to be higher, as orange processing rises. This scenario may limit devaluations in the in natura market.
Processing plants are expected to begin activities in June. So far, five plants of the large-sized processors have been operating in São Paulo State, and more plants are supposed to begin activities this month, majorly in the second fortnight.
In the spot market, values have been stable. The processors that are currently purchasing oranges in the spot have been paying from BRL 25 to BRL 27.00 per 40.8-kilo box (harvested and delivered at processor). As for contracts, quotations have hit BRL 32.00/box, however, not all plants are receiving fruits, and some of them have minimum quality requirements, mainly related to ratio.
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.