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.
In late February, the large-sized processors in São Paulo made their first purchase proposals for the oranges from the 2022/23 crop. Of the three companies in the state, two of them are interested in closing deals, bidding from BRL 30 – BRL 32.00 per 40.8-kilo box, harvested and delivered. The third processing plant was only renewing existing contracts. However, the number of deals closed is still low, since farmers expect prices to rise higher, due to both firm demand from the industry and, largely, higher production costs.
Indeed, data recently released by CitrusBR show that the volume of orange juice stocked by the end of the current season (in June 2022) will not be enough to supply the international market until the middle of next season. According to CitrusBR, ending stocks of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent in the 2021/22 season are expected to total 126.574 thousand tons – possibly ranging between 115 and 135 thousand tons. It is important to mention that previous estimates (from September 2021) pointed to stocks between 170 and 190 thousand tons, but bad weather conditions (drought and frosts) reduced processing and hampered fruits development and ripening (influencing industrial yield).
If CitrusBR’s forecasts are confirmed, the volume stocked is expected to be much lower than the strategic level, of 250 thousand tons, scenario that may be observed at least until the end of the 2022/23 season (in June 2023) if the number of oranges produced is not high.
Cepea calculations show that, for stocks to surpass the strategic level by the end of next season, the number of boxes harvested in the citrus belt in São Paulo and the Triângulo Mineiro needs to be over 340 million – and of this total, 300 million need to be allocated to the industry. For these results were considered sales of a million tons (slightly lower than the average) and the average industrial yield of the past five crops.
Although it seems juice supply in Brazil will be tight for at least one more season, agents from processors have not reported any significant valuations for the commodity yet. This would be the major reason why bids for the new season have not been higher. On Feb. 23, the May contract at ICE Futures closed at USD 1,993/ton, 2 % down from that on December 30. However, it is important to mention that values at ICE Futures do not reflect real sales prices of processing plants.
One of the facts that may be constraining juice valuations abroad is the fear of bottling plants as for the negative effects of higher prices in Brazil. In the major destinations for the Brazilian orange juice, the United States and the European Union, demand for the product has been fading for some years, majorly because of the wide variety of other beverages, such as flavoured water, energy drinks and other types of juice, for instance.
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 %.
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 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.
Orange juice inventories ended the 2019-20 season (on June 30, 2020) on the rise, as already expected by agents from the Brazilian citrus market. According to CitrusBR (Brazilian Association of Citrus Exporters), the volume stocked by then totaled 471.138 thousand tons, a staggering 86 % up compared to that in the previous season, due to the higher orange production.
However, although the 2020-21 crop started with high volumes stocked, production is forecast to be low in São Paulo State and the Triângulo Mineiro, which is keeping firm the demand from processors for oranges. This scenario should lower inventories by the end of the current crop.
A report released by Citrus BR in late August estimates that, on June 30 2021, the inventories of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent from the 20-21 crop will total from 240 to 280 thousand tons, 49 % down compared to that in the previous season.
These estimates consider that around 238 million boxes of 40.8 kilos of oranges will be processed (with 50 million boxes left to be sold in the in natura market), average yield of 268 boxes to produce a ton of FCOJ Equivalent and stable sales, at 1.15 million tons. These results are similar to that estimated by Cepea in May, at 250 thousand tons. It is worth to mention that both estimates (from CitrusBR and Cepea) take into consideration the fact that there may be adjustments in industrial yield, due to the multiple flowerings registered in 2020-21.
According to agents from processors, yield has been low, and much more than the 268 boxes are needed to produce a ton of juice, as estimated by CitrusBR. Although this number tends to decrease along the season, it is concerning, since the prices paid for the fruits have been higher this season, meaning that remuneration for lower quality oranges is currently higher. In this scenario, the only processors that has been purchasing oranges in the Brazilian spot market is bidding prices according to yield: when more than 290 boxes are needed for a ton of juice, prices average 21.60 BRL/box, while for the fruits with higher yield, prices reach 24.00 BRL/box.
BRAZILIAN MARKET IN AUGUST – Despite the weak demand, due to the colder weather, orange prices remained firm in August, underpinned by the lower supply of higher quality fruits in the in natura market. Besides, the fast crushing pace at the large-sized processors in SP helped to reduce availability in the market. Thus, between August 1st and 31, the average price for pear oranges closed at 30.01 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, 11.8 % higher than that in July.
TAHITI LIME – Tahiti lime supply was low in the Brazilian market in August, forecast to increase only from mid-September. The fruits that were on tree had not reached the ideal size and maturation to be harvested, since the weather was dry in the last months.
Thus, prices were firm last month, which limited deals in the in natura market of São Paulo State. In August, the average price for tahiti lime was 85.15 BRL per 27-kilo box, harvested, 40 % up compared to that in July.
The Brazilian exports of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent (2019/20 crop) are ending, and the volume sold to all destinations continues higher than that last season.
From July/19 to May/20, Brazil shipped 1.03 million tons of juice, 13 % more than that exported in the first 11 months of the 2018/19 season (913.4 thousand tons), according to data from Secex. Revenue, in turn, rose by 1 % (in the same comparison), totaling 1.7 billion USD.
To the European Union, specifically, Brazilian juice shipments totaled 723.7 thousand tons, 23 % up compared to that in the same period last season (587.7 thousand tons). Revenue amounted 1.2 billion USD, for an increase of 10 %. To the United States, Brazilian exports have decreased by 19 % this season, to 154.5 thousand tons, and the revenue downed 25 %, to 248.96 million USD.
Low demand explains the decrease in the volume sent to the US, due to the forecast for a recovery in the 2019/20 season in Florida for the second consecutive year. The state has faced several problems involving weather and plant health this season and in previous crops.
However, due to the covid-19 pandemic, juice sales in the American retail market have increased significantly – data from Nielsen indicate that, this season (from October/19 to April 11, 2020), the volume sold was 6.1 % higher than that in the same period of the crop before.
In this scenario, local juice stocks are being consumed. Although inventories are higher than that in the season before, projections indicating an increase in stocks are lower than those at the beginning of the year.
BRAZILIAN MARKET IN JUNE – The trading pace for citrus was weak in the first half of June, but the volume of oranges available in the in natura market was lower, since processing plants were receiving fruits in that period. Therefore, the average price for pear oranges in the first fortnight of the month was 25.25 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, 4.7 % down compared to that in the first half of May.
Players surveyed by Cepea reported higher sales of ponkan tangerine in São Paulo between June 1 and 15. Thus, the harvesting of this variety stepped up in that period, so that growers could take advantage of the high price levels, although fruits have not reached the ideal maturation stage yet.
Brazilian exports of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent increased in October for the fourth consecutive month. This season (July to October/19), Brazil has shipped 390.5 thousand tons of the product to all destinations, 19 % more than that exported in the same period last year, according to data from Secex. Revenue, in turn, rose 8 %, in the same comparison, totaling 672.27 million USD.
This result was already expected by agents from the sector, who were based on the needs of bottling plants from the European Union (number one destination for the Brazilian juice) to replenish inventories – it is worth to mention that, last season, national shipments to the EU decreased. This season (2019/20), exports to the EU have already reached 284.3 thousand tons, 25 % up compared to the volume shipped between July and October 2018.
Shipments to the United States continue to decrease – between July and October/19, Brazilian exports to the USA decreased 6 %, totaling only 53.5 thousand tons, still reflecting the 2018/19 harvest offset in Florida as well as perspectives for a positive scenario in the American state in 2019/20.
Brazilian juice exports should continue on the rise in the coming months, due to the higher orange production in the citrus belt (São Paulo and Triângulo Mineiro) and the needs of European bottling plants to replenish inventories. Shipments to the USA, in turn, will depend on the output from Florida (although greening has been controlled, it still damages local groves).
BRAZILIAN MARKET – The demand for oranges was firm in the in natura market in the first fortnight of November, according to Cepea collaborators, pushing up prices. As regards supply, the low availability of higher quality fruits and the reduction in the pear orange harvesting helped to underpin quotes. Between Nov. 1 and 14, pear orange quotes averaged 28.04 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, 31.1 % up compared to that in the first half of October.
As regards tahiti lime, the volume available in the in natura market of SP is increasing – although most are small-sized fruits, which are traded at lower prices. According to agents consulted by Cepea, the gradual supply increase tends to press down quotes from now onwards. Between Nov. 1 and 14, tahiti lime prices averaged 91.37 BRL per 27-kilo box, harvested, 14.3 % down compared to that in the first fortnight of October.
EXPORTS – Brazilian shipments of tahiti lime continue at record levels, both in terms of volume and revenue, favored by the higher supply between April and May. Between January and October/19, exports of lemon and lime totaled 93.3 thousand tons, 13.6 % up compared to that from the same period last year, according to Secex. Revenue, in turn, totaled 78.5 million USD, 3.2 % higher, in the same comparison. As supply increases in Brazil, which is expected between late November and early December, agents expect quotes to drop and shipments to increase, since lower prices favor the competitiveness of the Brazilian product in the international market.
The Brazilian exports of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent have been increasing for two consecutive months. This season (July to August/19), Brazil has shipped 199.6 thousand tons of FCOJ Equivalent – to all destinations –, 19 % more than that from the same period last year, according to data from Secex. Revenue, in turn, rose 6 %, in the same comparison, totaling 336.64 million USD.
To the European Union, the number one destination for the Brazilian orange juice, national exports have totaled 140.3 thousand tons, 22 % up compared to that between July and August/18. To the United States, on the other hand, Brazilian shipments have decreased again, by 13 %, totaling only 32.8 thousand tons between July and August/19 – this result reflects the higher supply in Florida in the 2018/19 season and perspectives for a positive scenario in 2019/20.
PERSPECTIVES – Concerning production in Brazil, new estimates for the 2019/20 season released by Fundecitrus (Citrus Defense Fund) on September 10 indicate that the orange harvest in the citrus belt should total 388.42 million boxes (40.8 kilos each). This volume is only 0.12 % smaller than that reported in May, but 35.8 % higher than the amount harvested last season (2018/19).
According to Fundecitrus, lower estimates are based on the smaller rain amounts in São Paulo starting May, which reduced the average weight for the early varieties (hamlin, westin and rubi), from 138 to 136 grams, as well as the size, from 296 to 300 fruits per box.
Still according to the report from Fundecitrus, the harvesting of early oranges has totaled 96 %, against 23 % for pear oranges and 6 % for late oranges. So far, the total volume harvested in the 2019/20 season is at 35 %.
BRAZILIAN MARKET – Tahiti lime quotes increased in São Paulo State in the first fortnight of September, reflecting lower supply, since the fruits still on tree have not reached the ideal maturation and size to be harvested yet. Between September 2 and 13, tahiti lime prices averaged 47.48 BRL per 27-kilo box, harvested, 50.73 % up compared to that in the first half of August.
Tahiti lime exports have reached record volumes this year, largely favored by the higher supply in Brazil between April and May. From January to August/19, exports of lemon and lime totaled 83.1 thousand tons, 9.3 % up compared to that in the same period last year, according to Secex.
Concerning oranges, supply was still low in the in natura market, due to the fast crushing pace in the large sized processing plants from SP. In the in natura market, the demand for oranges was high in the first fortnight of the month. Thus, between Sept. 2 and 13, pear orange quotes averaged 18.99 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, 4.05 % up compared to that in the first half of August.
In June 2019, the inventories of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) equivalent at Brazilian processing plants closed at 253.18 thousand tons, 26.2 % smaller than that in the 2017/18 season, according to data from CitrusBR (Brazilian Association of Citrus Exporters).
This volume is considered small in light of historic inventories – in recent years, inventories were only lower than that in 2010/11 and in 2016/17. The worse performance of Brazilian juice exports in 2018/19, therefore, prevented juice inventories at Brazilian processing plants from decreasing to critical levels.
CitrusBR should only release data about the ending stocks from 2019/20 and 2020/21 (June/20) next year. However, according to Cepea calculations, inventories should bounce back at the processing plants from São Paulo in 2020/21, due to the large 2019/20 crop in the citrus belt.
Considering initial inventories at 253.18 thousand tons in June/19, the demand in the in natura market, between 50 and 60 million orange boxes (the remaining production is allocated to crushing), and the increase in exports, to around 1.05 million tons, Cepea estimates inventories to be around 400 thousand tons by June/20, much higher than the current levels.
Although this scenario points to high inventories (the last four seasons ended with lower inventories), the effect on orange quotes in 2020/21 will depend on the volume to be produced next season. If production is average or high, the season tends to end with large volumes stocked again, which may constrain remuneration to growers as well as price rises for orange juice.
According to Fundecitrus (Citrus Defense Fund), the annual orange production in the Brazilian citrus belt has been oscillating between high and low. However, it is still early to forecast the 2020/21 season, since flowering is still beginning in some groves from SP – but, considering the long drought, flowerings may be favored.
With the higher juice supply in 2019/20, shipments may bounce back from 2018/19. The needs of European distributors may favor exports, but higher demand from the United States will still depend on Florida’s production.
BRAZILIAN MARKET – The high price levels for tahiti lime hampered new deals in the in natura market from SP in August. According to agents, supply was low, since, until the end of the month, the fruits still on tree had not reached the ideal size and maturation stage to be harvested.
Drier weather limited fruits growth, which should underpin tahiti lime prices in September. Between August 1 and 31, quotes averaged 30.03 BRL per 27-kilo box, harvested, 20.1 % up compared to that in July.
In the in natura market of pear oranges, the trading pace was slow and demand decreased in August. However, low supply underpinned prices. Thus, pear orange quotes averaged 18.26 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, in August, 1.1 % up compared to that in July.
The combination of lower orange supply in the Brazilian citrus belt (São Paulo and Triângulo Mineiro) in the 2018/19 crop with the recovery of Florida production is keeping the Brazilian exports of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent low. This season (from July/18 to March/19), Brazilian juice shipments to all destinations have totaled 783.4 thousand tons, 14 % down compared to that in the same period last season, according to Secex. Revenue, in turn, has reached 1.4 billion USD, 12 % lower in the same comparison.
To the European Union, the biggest purchaser of the Brazilian juice, shipments have totaled 506.29 thousand tons this season, 8 % down compared to the same period last year. Revenue, in turn, has reached 941.2 million USD, 6 % down in the same comparison.
To the United States, the Brazilian exports of FCOJ Equivalent totaled 167.8 thousand tons between July/18 and March/19, 26 % less than in the same period of the previous season. Revenue reached 296.7 million USD, 27 % down in the same comparison.
The American demand for the Brazilian orange juice should not decrease too much in the coming seasons, due to the damages caused by greening, a disease with severe effects on production in the long term.
CROP END – Fundecitrus (Citrus Defense Fund) announced, on April 10, that the orange production in the citrus belt (São Paulo and Triângulo Mineiro) has totaled 285.98 million boxes of 40.8 kilos this season, 28.2 % down compared to the output in 2017/18 (398.35 million boxes). Compared to the average in the last 10 years, the current production is 11.6% lower.
Lower productivity was triggered by the weather (heat and drought) during fruit development. Low supply, in turn, kept high the need of Brazilian processing plants for oranges in 2018, limiting availability in the in natura segment.
MARKET IN APRIL – The higher availability of early oranges in the 2019/20 crop pressed down the quotes of all varieties surveyed by Cepea in the first fortnight of April. With the maturation stage below that demanded in the in natura segment, trades were limited. Between April 1 and 15, pear orange prices averaged 35.17 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, 18.8 % down compared to that in the first fortnight of March.
TAHITI LIME – Tahiti lime prices have been firm in Brazil this year, which is not typical for a first quarter. Although harvesting stepped up (which is common for the beginning of the year, due to the crop peak), high demand for exports as well as from Brazilian processing plants is controlling supply in São Paulo State.
In this scenario, the average price in April (until April 15) is already the second highest for the month, in nominal terms, considering Cepea series, which started in 1996 for this product. The same was observed in the first quarter of 2019, when the nominal average in January was only lower than in Jan/18 and the nominal averages in February and March were only lower than in the same months of 2016 – tahiti lime quotes reached nominal records in Feb. and Mar. 2016 and in Jan. 2018, in the historical series.
Agents’ initial expectations were that the harvesting of the fruits from the second blossoming would increase tahiti lime supply in the in natura market in April, despite the smaller volume compared to that in the crop peak. However, mainly in January and February, the demand from processing plants was high and prices, appealing. Thus, many growers harvested all the fruits early in the year, reducing supply in March.
Some citrus farmers accelerated the tahiti lime harvesting early in the year, aiming to prepare the trees for production in the second semester of 2019 (when prices usually rise).
In early April, according to purchasers, it was still difficult to find high quality tahiti lime in the in natura market. While mature fruits were missing, the new ones were still green – for that reason, harvesting was postponed. Higher quality fruits, in turn, were allocated to the international market. Thus, between April 1 and 15, tahiti lime quotes averaged 23.49 BRL per 27-kilo box, harvested, a staggering 63.6 % up compared to that in the first fortnight of March.
The 2017/18 Brazilian season of juice shipments finished in June with high volumes. As for FCOJ Equivalent (volume equivalent to concentrate juice), the total exported was the highest since the 2009/10 crop, while for NFC (not-from-concentrate-fresh juice), the amount hit a record.
Since the beginning of the season, exports surpassed the volumes registered in the same months of the year before, scenario boosted by the higher production in the citrus belt (São Paulo and Triângulo Mineiro) in 2017/18 and by the higher international demand, especially from the United States.
Secex says that, from July/17 to June/18, total juice (FCOJ Equivalent) shipments to all destinations amounted 1.2 million tons, for an increase of 28 % compared to the season before. The revenue, in turn, rose 29 %, totaling 2.2 billion USD. NFC exports totaled 1.5 million tons, for an increase of 14 % compared to the season before, generating 515.7 million USD, upping 16 % in the same comparison.
To the United States alone, the export increase was 81 % from July/17 to June/18, totaling 315.5 thousand tons of FCOJ. The revenue amounted 561.7 million USD, moving up 76 %. Both volume and revenue to the USA were a record in the 2017/18 season.
To the European Union, sales totaled 720.5 thousand tons of FCOJ, 17 % up compared to the previous season. The revenue, in turn, was 1.3 billion USD, for an increase of 18 % in the same comparison.
MARKET IN BRAZIL – The citrus market registered slow pace of trades in mid-July. Players surveyed by Cepea say that low temperatures and the lack of quality of fruits available in the in natura market hindered negotiations.
However, with the heated demand from processing companies, the supply of early varieties is reduced in São Paulo State, which increases demand for pear orange. From July 2 to 13, pear orange quotes averaged 26.30 BRL per 40.8-kilo, on tree, 3.1 % up compared to the first fortnight of June (1 – 15).
As for tahiti lime, demand decreased, mainly due to high prices and cold weather in São Paulo. Thus, in the first fortnight of July (2 to 13), quotes averaged 28.73 BRL per 27-kilo box, harvested, for a decrease of 21 % in the same comparison.
Although production in the current crop (2017/18) has increased, orange prices in São Paulo kept at firm levels in 2017 in the industry and in natura segments, underpinned by higher demand from citrus processors.
An estimate released by Fundecitrus (Citrus Defense Fund) in December indicated that the 2017/18 production might total 385.2 million boxes, 57 % higher compared to the 2016/17 season (one of the smallest productions in all times) and possibly the highest supply since 2012/13. Therefore, based on the forecast for higher production, players from the industry expect crushing activities to be intense in early 2018. Since the beginning of activities in 2017, processors operated at a fast pace, at 100 % of the capacity in practically all units.
Higher production in the citrus belt also changed the purchasing scenario. Before sizing the production, major processors in São Paulo started to contract fruits in the last quarter of 2016, and trades amounted to 26.00 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, harvested and delivered, regardless of early, mid-season and late varieties.
These trades, however, were not observed again in 2017, because processors had comfortable inventories and limited new purchases in the spot market, as the volume was already contracted and there was no expectation for restrictions of raw material supply. Thus, values were around 18.00 BRL per box. In the partial of the season (from July to December), prices paid for pear oranges and late varieties in the sport market averaged 18.96 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, harvested and delivered at the factory, moving down 14.7 % compared to the average of the second semester in 2016.
Output was higher and was welcome to help reduce very low ending stocks in 2016/17. According to estimates from CitrusBR (Brazilian Association of Citrus Exporters), inventories of SP processors may recover by 93 % in June 2018, at 207.6 thousand tons of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent.
IN NATURA MARKET – The off-season period pushed up pear orange quotes, which hit a nominal record in February, averaging 43.91 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, 118 % more than that verified in the same month of 2016. From May onwards, higher supply and limited purchases in the spot market pressed down quotes, which registered lower levels than those in 2016, but kept firm, considering recent prices. In the second semester, values averaged 18.18 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, for a decrease of 34.9 % in relation to one year ago.
TAHITI – Tahiti lime prices were close to expectations in 2017, with lower quotes in the first semester, due to higher supply, and a gradual recovery in the second part of the year, because of the off-season. Last year, Tahiti lime prices averaged 33.98 per 27-kilo box, harvested, 18.8 % lower than in the same period of 2016, in nominal terms. As for demand, Tahiti exportations registered record volumes until July/17. In the second semester, on the other hand, due to the smaller Brazilian production, price rises and the competition with the Mexican crop, shipments dropped.
EXPORTATIONS – Low production in Florida reflected in an increase of volume equivalent to concentrate juice in this partial of 2017/18 crop. To the United States alone, sales increased 56 % in the period (July to November/17) compared to the previous one. To all destinations, in turn, the volume amounted 514 thousand tons, 22 % more in the same comparison. In the 2016/17 season (July/16 to June/17), exportations dropped 17 %, totaling 950.92 thousand tons.
The Brazilian exportations of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent have been at higher levels in the 2017/18 season (July to September/17) compared to the same period last crop. This scenario, already expected by agents from the sector, is due to higher Brazilian supply and firmer demand from the United States.
According to Secex, this season, Brazil has shipped 50.4 thousand tons of juice only to the United States, 12 % up compared to the same period last year. Brazilian juice exportations to the United States are expected to remain firm this crop. In the first official estimates regarding the 2017/18 season, released on October 12, the USDA confirmed production should be 21 % lower than in 2016/17, totaling 54 million boxes.
Besides problems with greening this season, citrus production from Florida, the main citrus producing state in the United States, was damaged by Irma hurricane, which hit groves in September, causing fruit drops and floods.
The smaller crop in Florida should lower the global orange juice supply even more. In Brazil, although productivity is almost 53 % higher than in the 2016/17 season, according to Fundecitrus (Citrus Defense Fund), the weather conditions this year may still affect the total volume. With the drought and high temperatures observed in September, many fruits wilted and crystalized at groves. In October, however, rains have dropped fruits of weak varieties, causing losses to growers from São Paulo State.
Besides, despite recovery of inventories in the 2017/18 season, estimated at 207.6 thousand tons, the low supply at Brazilian processors should only be softened. Therefore, Brazil should be aware of that scenario, mainly if production in the 2018/19 season is affected by the current weather.
EXPORTATIONS – From July to September this year, according to Secex, Brazil shipped 305.4 thousand tons of FCOJ Equivalent, 12 % up compared to the same period of 2016. Revenue rose 19 %, totaling 537.5 million USD. In Real, revenue totaled 1.69 billion BRL, 16 % up in the same comparison. For the European Union, sales totaled 200.9 thousand tons of orange juice, 5 % up compared to that in the same period last year. Revenue totaled 349.8 million USD, 11 % up in the same comparison. In Real, it totaled 1.10 billion BRL, 8 % up in the period.
DOMESTIC MARKET – The demand for oranges was low in the domestic market in the first fortnight of October. According to growers consulted by Cepea, the Brazilian Holiday on October 12, as well as the large volumes sold in the first week of the month, which reduced the supply needs from purchasers, may have affected sales. With lower supply of fruits with quality standards demanded by the in natura market, however, prices increased. Between October 1 and 13, pear orange quotes averaged 19.37 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, 19 % up compared to the first fortnight of September (1 – 15).
TAHITI LIME – Tahiti lime quotes reached 100.00 BRL per 27-kilo box, harvested, in the first fortnight of October, pushed up by the replenishing needs of growers, since harvesting was interrupted by rains, reducing availability in São Paulo State even more. Between October 1 and 13, tahiti lime quotes averaged 81.75 BRL per 27-kilo box, harvested, a staggering 63.5% up against that in the first fortnight of September (1 – 15).
Exportations of tahiti lime from SP State continued limited by high domestic prices, which reduced fruit competitiveness in the international market. Thus, Cepea collaborators believe shipments may intensify again only in November – as local supply should increase.
Hurricane Irma, which hit Florida on September 10, should damage the local citrus groves. Since it reached a wide area, all citrus producing regions should be affected, mainly central and southwestern state.
In an interview for ABC News, the executive director of the Florida Citrus Department, Shannon Stepp, said that production was likely to surpass 75 million boxes, as estimated by Elizabeth Steger before the hurricane hit. Now, the director expects numbers to decrease sharply.
There are no official estimates regarding the damages caused by Irma hurricane yet, but the press has reported damages between 10 % and 80 %, depending on the area and the variety. The press has also released reports from local growers estimating damages at 1.2 billion USD to the agricultural production, including citrus, sugarcane, tomatoes, green beans, cucumber and others. Besides, fruits and trees drops were observed, as well as floods in citrus groves from Florida.
ORANGE JUICE – At the New York Exchange Stock (ICE Futures), the future contracts of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) due in November/17 increased in the second week of September, with the announcement of hurricane Irma by the United States. Thus, between September 5 and 12, values rose 19.12 %, averaging 2,191.59 USD per ton.
In this scenario, citrus growers from all over the world are focused on the impacts of Irma hurricane on global demand for orange juice. For Brazil, that scenario would only reinforce the need of importation from the United States, since inventories from North-American processors are low. Therefore, a larger crop in the citrus belt from São Paulo may help Brazil to meet that demand.
According to the last report from Fundecitrus (Citrus Defense Fund), released on September 11, the 2017/18 crop was estimated at 374.06 million 40.8-kilo boxes in São Paulo and Triângulo Mineiro. That volume is 2.63 % larger than that first estimated in May, and 52.5 % higher than that in the previous season (2016/17), which ended with 245.3 million boxes. This inventory increase was favored by rains in the first semester (April to June/17), which boosted fruits growth, mainly for the early fruits, whose harvest had reached 75 % of the total area in mid-July.
The smaller volume of oranges allocated to processors in the 2016/17 season (due to one of the smallest crops in the citrus belt, with only 245.3 million boxes of 40.8 kilos) has affected not only orange juice exportations, but shipments of orange by-products as well. While in the 2015/16 season exportations of these products increased, shipments of all items from the crop that officially ended in June (July/16 to June/17) had the worst individual performance, mainly in terms of volume.
The revenue from by-products exportations in the 2016/17 season, however, was 390.08 million USD, 22 % up compared to the previous crop (Secex). Except for lemon and lime oil, prices of all the other by-products increased significantly in the season. These exportations include citrus pulp pellets, citrus terpenic, D-limonene, lemon, lime and orange essential oils and other citrus products.
As for the individual performance, only two by-products had higher shipments compared to the previous season: D-limonene and lemon essential oil. On the other hand, the volume of citrus pulp pellets exported decreased a staggering 68 %, totaling 68.6 thousand tons.
FCOJ – Exportations of frozen concentrate orange juice equivalent (FCOJ Equivalent) decreased 17 % compared to the previous crop. From July/16 to June/17, exportations of FCOJ Equivalent totaled 950.92 thousand tons, according to Secex. Revenue totaled 1.73 billion USD, 6 % down compared to the same period last crop. In Real, revenue totaled 5.57 billion BRL, 18 % down in the same comparison.
Brazilian exportations should increase next season, based on the partial recovery of the orange juice inventories.
BRAZILIAN MARKET – Demand for in natura oranges weakened in the second week of July, due to the mild temperatures in São Paulo State and the school vacations period. Thus, pear orange quotes averaged 16.30 BRL per 40.8-kilo box (on tree) between July 3 and 14, 7.1 % down compared to the same period in June.
Purchases from processors were limited as well. Receiving previously purchased fruits, processors from SP State did not trade much in the spot in the first fortnight of July, mainly due to maturation out of the ideal period for some fruits, mainly the mid-season ones. Thus, bidding prices continued between 16.00 BRL and 18.00 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, harvested and delivered at the processor, and between 18.00 BRL and 20.00 BRL per box for the mid-season fruits.