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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.

Brazilian agents expect orange production in São Paulo and the Triângulo Mineiro region to be low in the 2020/21 season. Although lower productivity constrains growers’ revenue, a smaller harvest tends to underpin the prices paid by the industry, despite higher ending stocks in June 2020.

In general, the biggest flowerings (observed in August) were considered positive by most of the growers consulted by Cepea. However, the dry and hot weather between September and October damaged plants and delayed their development during the fruit-fixing period. Besides, new flowerings (although occasional and smaller than that from August) were spotted in early December, favored by November rains.

Thus, trees development has been heterogeneous in the Brazilian citrus belt, even within a single region. However, it is worth to mention that the flower settlement period lasts until mid-January, which makes it difficult to measure the results for the coming season. Besides, the scenario is still uncertain and depends on the flowers that are now opening, the percentage of fixed fruitlet and fruits development in January.

INVENTORIES – Higher orange production in the current season (2019/20) has allowed crushing to be high at the processors from São Paulo State. In this scenario, perspectives for June 2020 indicate higher inventories of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent, possibly surpassing 400 thousand tons, according to Cepea estimates – higher than the strategic level. Isolated, this scenario may press down quotes at processors in the coming season, but, with the low production estimates for 2020/21 in São Paulo and the Triângulo Mineiro, quotes may continue firm.

Thus, in 2020/21, prices should be largely influenced by production – the agents consulted by Cepea believe the harvest will be smaller than 300 million boxes. If that is confirmed, this scenario may stabilize quotes in 2020, since it would keep the demand from processors high, and there would not be pressure on quotes in the in natura market.