The European orange and lemon markets are not quite as strong as some overseas suppliers seem to believe, according a Dutch fruit and vegetable importer.
Denimpex general manager Joey Deen said while the orange market was seeing higher prices than last year, the volumes were disproportionately large.
“Maybe the volume will really get cut down in the end of the season but for now, the market is not as hot as people as saying,” he told Fresh Fruit Portal.
“Everybody was saying it was going to be a booming hot season and that whoever gets the oranges, grapefruit or lemons will have gold in their hands, but in my opinion it’s not that good.
“I think the market is weaker than everybody is talking about, but that’s just my opinion. If the market was that hot like everybody was saying then everybody should be calling you for oranges, and that’s not the case.”
He added many overseas suppliers were asking for higher prices than lots of receivers were willing to pay.
“On the grower side they are putting the prices so high, and then on the client side they don’t want to pay these prices. Who’s going to pay €1 (US$1.15) a kilo for oranges for wholesale? It’s a ridiculous price,” he said.
He added orange imports through June from supplying countries like South Africa did not seem to be as low as many had anticipated earlier in the season.
Looking forward he was optimistic the market would improve over the coming months, but for now he said the situation remains “difficult”.
Denimpex mainly imports citrus from Egypt, along with Morocco and South Africa. He said the Egyptian season had now come to a close, but the other two were still supplying fruit.
On the lemon front Deen described the market situation as “terrible”.
“There are still enough Spanish lemons. They are going to finish in the next two or three weeks, but we already have six weeks’ worth in store,” he said.
“The suppliers are asking for high prices, but the exports are big and the demand over here for lemons is not that big.
“Personally I am optimistic for the end of the season. When the Spanish are gone I think there will be a chance to get decent prices.”
Spain, South Africa and Argentina were the main lemon suppliers in the EU market at the moment, he said.
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