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Analysis Onions

Is the worst over in the onion market?

May 3, 2024 - Jurphaas Lugtenburg

Sorters are doing good work for the time of year and that gives some confidence. Growers no longer say yes and amen to every offer. It's too early to speak of optimism, but the biggest panic is temporarily over.

Quality problems are not a new phenomenon, but with a relatively warm week behind us, there is a wave of supply starting with sprouting issues. These are generally onions that were already not pure, and when the temperature rises, things happen a bit faster. Polish buyers are less active in the Netherlands this week, but the prices remain relatively stable. Depending on the issues in a batch, prices range between €5 and €10. Not prices to write home about, but every little bit helps to work through the stocks.

There are more than enough onions. However, finding a good batch is another story. The range within which Dutch sorters are in the market is relatively wide. The bottom is around €10 and goes up to about €16 for the good onions. Growers with outdoor storage feel the need to not wait too long to sell, and more importantly, to deliver. Some sorters are betting that there will still be a few good batches coming up. On the other hand, there is a group of growers with top-quality product in mechanical cooling hoping that there will be a gap after mid-May between the old Dutch harvest and new imported onions.

Exports doing well despite holiday period
Exports are feeling more friendly. The bag price is bottoming out, which means buyers are not waiting until the last moment to place orders. Several sorters mention being busy. Part of this may be because work for next week is being brought forward. On the other hand, this week was May 1st, the day when half of Europe is at a standstill, but there was little impact on demand. Also, not all packing stations are equally active. Some are on a May holiday and will see when they resume and if they will do anything more this season.

The onion prices in the DCA listing Bag Price Onions are converging. Triplets and mediums remain unchanged. Large and super take a step back. Ultimately, the price of onions in the bag is largely dependent on quality and destination. Whether they stay within Europe and reach their destination in a few days or need to remain good in the container for weeks, there can easily be a €5 difference.

Read here the explanation from DCA Market Intelligence on the new listings.

Jurphaas Lugtenburg

Jurphaas Lugtenburg is a market specialist in onions, carrots, and commodities such as wheat, corn, and soybeans at DCA Market Intelligence. He combines his degree in business administration with a passion for farming.
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