Global Raisin Production Up Marginally

Global raisin production for 2014/15 is forecast at a record 1.2 million metric tons, up 5 percent from the previous year as gains in Turkey more than offset losses in the United States. Consumption, which lagged production the previous four years, is also at a record 1.2 million tons. World trade is nearly 5 percent higher, primarily due to rising shipments to the European Union.

U.S. production is forecast to drop 14 percent to 320,000 tons based on lower yields as reported in the California Raisin Grape Objective Measurement Report. The crop has struggled with the lack of water, while hail in the spring hit some vineyards during bloom. Exports are set to decline nearly 20 percent to 130,000 tons on increased competition from Turkey, particularly in the EU. Ending stocks, which expanded over the last 4 years, are down 13 percent to 99,000 tons on lower available supplies.

Turkey’s production is forecast to rebound, reaching the previous record of 310,000 tons on favorable weather and expanding area following last year’s spring freeze and hail damage. With higher available supplies, exports are projected to rise nearly 30 percent to 235,000 tons as Turkey reclaims market share in the EU. Ending stocks are forecast to reach 27,000 tons, the highest level in nearly a decade, despite a recent rise in domestic consumption.

China’s production is forecast to increase 10 percent to 180,000 tons as disruptions in fresh grape sales are expected to divert higher volumes to raisin processing, more than offsetting the effects of an April frost in Xinjiang, the largest producing region. Green raisins account for 60 percent of total production and are mostly consumed as snack foods, while dark raisins account for 40 percent of output and are primarily used by low-end bakery shops. Since domestic consumption accounts for a vast majority of the harvest, exports are limited at just 35,000 tons.

Chile’s production is forecast to rebound 5 percent to 66,000 tons following last year’s frost that lowered grape output. Most raisins are produced from discarded table grapes, unsuitable for fresh consumption. Nearly all the harvest is destined for export markets such as the EU, United States and Mexico.

South Africa’s production is forecast almost 10 percent higher to 50,000 tons based on increased area and yield following last year’s frost damage. Exports are expected marginally higher with the majority shipped to the EU.

Afghanistan’s production is forecast 5 percent higher to 36,000 tons due mostly to increased area. Farmers typically dry 25 percent of their grape crop, but a higher percentage of grapes are dried if travel into and through Pakistan becomes problematic. However, the drying process is a major constraint for the industry as it predominately occurs in conditions that produce lower quality raisins. Top export markets include India and Russia.

EU imports are forecast to rise 3 percent to 340,000 tons on increased demand from households as well as the manufacturing sector.

Revised 2013/14

World production is revised down from the September 2013 estimate by 35,000 tons to 1.14 million.

• Uzbekistan is slashed 18,000 tons to 17,000 on lower yields.

• Chile is lowered 14,000 tons to 62,000 due to frost damage.

• Argentina is decreased 9,500 tons to 24,500 as a late frost combined with excessive rain to lower yields.

World exports are revised down 55,000 tons to 687,000.

• Turkey is cut 35,000 tons to 185,000 on smaller exportable supplies resulting in lower shipments to the EU.

• Chile is lowered 15,000 tons to 59,000 on smaller exportable supplies.

• Uzbekistan is revised down 15,000 tons to 15,000 on smaller exportable supplies.

• United States is raised 19,000 tons to 159,000 due to higher-than-anticipated shipments to Europe.

World imports are revised down 34,000 tons to 671,000.

• Russia is reduced 16,000 tons to 29,000.

• EU is lowered 10,000 tons to 330,000