Europe's Citrus Market Overview and Trends for the 2024 Season

Fresh Mandarin
Published Mar 6, 2024
Domestic and international factors influence the European citrus industry in Q1-24. The Northern Hemisphere is in the final stages of its citrus production campaign, with the Orri Jaffa variety commanding premium prices. Israel had a successful winter, sustaining quality despite labor issues. Italy's market is tranquil, but the season could end sooner than predicted. The Netherlands is careful about remaining in the market to maintain sales, while Belgium is experiencing historically low pricing due to a lack of demand. Germany claims that supply exceeds demand, resulting in price decreases. France has fluctuating sales, but Spain and Portugal are experiencing supply delays owing to strikes and weather. Mandarins are in high demand in Greece; however, there is less variety than in Spain and Italy.

Citrus Market Conditions in the Northern Hemisphere

Figure 1: Tridge Fresh Mandarin Global Price Index Changes

Source: Tridge

The Northern Hemisphere is in the latter part of its citrus production campaign for the 2023/24 season, with the Orri Jaffa variety commanding high prices. Israel had a good winter, which helped maintain quality despite labor challenges. Italy's market is calm, with average supply and demand, but the season may end earlier than expected due to lower supply of domestic mandarins. Belgium is experiencing historically low prices due to a lack of demand. Germany reports a higher supply than demand, leading to price reductions. France has fluid sales but faces supply disruptions in Spain and Portugal due to strikes and weather. Greece has a good demand for mandarins but lacks varietal diversity compared to Spain and Italy. France is seeing good demand for varieties like Tango Gold, Nadorcott, Orri, and Murcott, mainly from Spain. The Dutch market is focusing on Tangos and Nadorcotts after the end of the Clemenules mandarin season, with a recommended price range to maintain sales momentum. However, the Netherlands is cautious about staying within the market to sustain sales.

Figure 2: Tridge Price Index and Forecast for Fresh Mandarin in Spain

Source: Tridge

In contrast, Spain has seen low prices for hybrid mandarins, with a significant price drop for the Orri variety compared to last year. In the previous period, Spanish mandarin prices have fallen due to increased production of early types such as Clemenules and Clemenvillas and excess supply from Egypt and Morocco. These countries provide cheaper mandarins in Europe, forcing Spanish producers to sell at lower prices in the European market. Orri mandarin in Spain experienced a 29.7% year-over-year (YoY) reduction in its average price compared to the previous year, from EUR 1.35 per kilogram (kg) to EUR 0.95/kg. According to Tridge’s forecast, fresh mandarin prices in Spain are expected to bounce back in the upcoming months, reaching pre-Dec-23 levels.

Impact of Climate on Citrus Production

In some major producing countries in the Southern Hemisphere, high temperatures have affected citrus crops, particularly mandarins, leading to decreased production and uncertainty about future volumes. This has resulted in higher prices in the local markets and is expected to affect the international market. A significant producer of citrus fruit, Peru has seen a decrease in early mandarin varieties like Okitsu, Owari, and Primosole, which may affect the market dynamics for the upcoming season.

The Southern Hemisphere is preparing for the 2024 citrus harvest, with South Africa expecting a good season. Uruguay is optimistic about a good harvest in 2024 due to favorable weather conditions. Peru is looking towards recovery in the 2024 season, with an expected increase in the exported volume of citrus fruits. These global factors could influence the European market as they affect the supply and demand dynamics. With large volumes from major southern hemisphere producers prices are likely to be subdued in the upcoming period.

As mentioned above, the European citrus market in 2024 is shaped by a range of factors, both domestic and international, which will contribute to price instability. While certain regions, such as Israel and portions of Italy, have had stable markets with high prices for specific types, others, such as Spain, have struggled with low pricing, particularly for hybrid mandarins. Climate change has also influenced production in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Tridge emphasizes that traders in the European citrus industry must constantly monitor these trends and change their strategies accordingly. Labor problems, climate unpredictability, and global market dynamics will continue to alter the mandarin trade and prices, emphasizing the significance of sustainable practices and varietal diversification.

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