Brazil citrus estimates are revised up, but output smaller than in 17/18
Wednesday 20 February 2019
Posted by: John Collins
Cepea, February 19, 2019 – The fourth production estimates for the Brazilian citrus belt (São Paulo and Triângulo Mineiro) in the 2018/19 season, released by Fundecitrus (Citrus Defence Fund) in the second week of February, indicate that the orange output should total 284.88 million boxes (40.8 kilos each). Although this volume is 3.3% larger than that forecast in December/18, it is still 28.5% smaller than that produced in 2017/18.
According to Fundecitrus, production was revised up because of the rains during springtime in Brazil (peak harvesting for pear and late oranges), which favoured fruits growth.
Low supply, in turn, has boosted pear orange quotes in the in natura market of São Paulo State since May/18. In the first fortnight of February (Feb. 1 – 15), the average price for that variety was at 37.63 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, 29.65% higher than that in Jan/19 and 73.1% higher than that in Feb/18, in nominal terms.
Orange harvesting is usually slower in the first quarter of the year, when most of the fruits available are not within the desired standards of quality, which ends up increasing the prices of higher quality fruits. According to Fundecitrus, 97% of pear orange orchards had been harvested until Feb. 15, against 92% of late oranges. Considering all varieties, harvesting has reached 95%.
The low productivity in the current season was caused by the weather conditions (heat and drought) during fruits development – mainly for pear oranges. With lower supply, processors’ demand was high last year, which helped to control orange availability in the in natura market in the first months of 2019.
JUICE EXPORTS – The crop recovery in Florida has been hampering the Brazilian exports of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent to the United States in 2018/19. Between July/18 and January/19, shipments to the USA decreased 27% compared to the same period of the previous season, totalling 118.1 thousand tons, according to Secex. Revenue reached 212.05 million USD, 26% down in the same comparison.
Besides the lower demand from the USA for the Brazilian juice, the decrease in orange juice inventories at Brazilian processors this semester, due to the smaller orange crop in 2018/19, is also limiting shipments to the main destination of the national juice: the European Union. This season (July/18 to January/19), FCOJ Equivalent shipments to the EU have totalled 397.1 thousand tons, 7% down compared to the same period in the 2017/18 season. Revenue has totalled 748.06 million USD, 2% lower in the same comparison.