Quarterly Market Update – October 2023

October 2023

ItemCountry of OriginBeginning of harvestEnd of harvestUpdates
Baby CornThailandYear roundYear round150ct whole is starting to become available again. Consistency in supply, however, is still a major concern.
Blended OilsVariesYear roundYear roundCanola and soybean portions look to be coming down. There has been some relief since we are near harvest and new crop looks good.
Tuna AlbacoreThailandYear roundYear roundCatchings and demand are stable.
Tuna SkipjackThailandYear roundYear roundCatchings have not yet improved but this has been countered by weaker demand.
OkraEl SalvadorMarchJuneCentral American yield is normal and healthy. But Mexican product has not faired as well so we could see a volume shift to Central America.
Jasmine RiceThailandJulyJulyNew crop is projected to be healthy. Farmers are considering an additional crop due to the recent panic created by Indian’s ban on exporting non-basmati white rice, which has led to other varietals commanding higher prices. The Thai government is discouraging this, asking for conservation of water. We have already seen the spot market spike with the spread between jasmine and Thai hom mali narrowing.
Basmati RicePakiston/IndiaJulyJulyCrops sown is up compared to 2022. But the ban in India on white rice has created unnecessary chaos in the basmati market as well as the overall rice market globally. There has been speculative buying due to the Indian ban and imposed duties. This may lead to a softer market as yield is expected to be healthy, with softening demand.
TomatoesTurkeyJulyAugustFor the second year, weather in Turkey has brought challenges to the tomato crop. Initially, cherry tomatoes were effected by the early rain, resulting in black spots and weakened yield, driving up raw material costing. We are still hoping that heavy rain holds off until the end of the wedge crop.
ArtichokesPeruAugustNovemberThe El Nino Phenomenon hit Peru in the first half of 2023. Rains and floods caused significant issues while now higher temperatures are causing crop issues. Results are the plants are producing less units and it is also causing smaller size artichokes to develop. Yield will turn out to produce 30-35% than the previous year.
Caramelized OnionsSpainOctoberFebruaryNew crop looks healthy but there is a hole in the market so we project that raw materials cost will be elevated at the start of the season. In addition, farmers will be seeking more for their crops due to higher fertilizer costs. We expect that these input costs will come in 20% higher than the previous year, resulting in a 10% increase in finished goods.
Olive OilSpainOctoberFebruaryThe Olive Oil market is seeing major price increases as year comes to an end. Suppliers are seeing how high customers are willing to spend, so be careful not to be caught in a cost replacement bubble. Italy producers have had to buy more product at higher prices and one reason is that Turkey currently has banned all exports so they are not a player in the market at all.
PineappleThailandDecemberJanuaryDrought continues to affect crop yields, driving up raw material costs. There is also concern with lower quality raw materials due to high nitrate levels.

Logistics Update

Overall vessel capacity continues to trend higher than demand, keeping rates from long-lasting or significant increases. As such, the steamship lines will continue voiding sailings and slow steaming. This allows them to allocate more vessel/capacity per service and save on fuel costs. The ocean freight market will remain stable until through 2023 and into late 2024, as demand continues to outstrip supply. We expect rates to increase globally by about 5% by the end of 2024, however the chances of significantly high freight rates are low in 2024.

Expect rate levels to flatten with some slight decreases possible over the next several weeks. There are no rate increases anticipated, no issues with capacity, and carriers’ schedule reliability is improving month over month.

As demand starts to normalize, freight rates are predicted to fall through the rest of the year. Rates to the U.S. East Coast (USEC) and Pacific Northwest (PNW) have started to slip due to excess supply on these two routes.

Latin America
The Panama Canal expects to maintain restrictions on daily vessel transit and maximum draft for at least 10 more months. The extension of this restriction would give the canal room for preserving water before the next rainy season arrives, but it could also create a larger bottleneck of vessels. Importantly, container vessels have appointments for transiting the canal and these appointments take priority over other vessels, so don’t anticipate a major impact on ocean exports at this point.