Analysis Onions

Short workweek help sentiment on onion market

May 10, 2024 - Jurphaas Lugtenburg

For the feeling, it's a busy week for onion-sorting the Netherlands. However, the image is a bit distorted by the short workweek because of Ascension Day and the Friday that many packers have added to it. Because there is less supply, some sorters dare to ask for a little extra. Losing an order now is not a disaster, there is plenty of work after all.

The spread in growers' prices is gradually widening. The majority of onions that are average and have a story attached to them are being loaded for prices between €10 and €12. Good onions suitable for retail and long-distance transport are practically not available below €15. For top quality from mechanical cooling delivery in June, an occasional receipt of around €18 is already being written. These are indeed exceptions, but it does indicate that packers have a bit more confidence in the market again. Various players in the onion market have been emphasizing in recent months that Dutch onions were too expensive to compete. Now Dutch prices are lower, and some exporters are even wondering if we have fallen too hard.

Red running out
Whether there is much room for prices to rise is doubted by insiders. After all, imported onions are not far away either. Red onions may be a bit ahead of yellow ones in this respect. With red onions, there is an increasing switch to new onions mainly from Egypt. But an important difference with yellow onions is that the stock of red onions is largely depleted. There are still plenty of yellow onions. Although it is of course tough for the growers involved, the relatively low prices ensure that there is a flow. Whether it is for top-quality retail or for the bottom end suitable for industry.

Where the price range widens on the farm, the price in the bale is actually converging. The smaller sizes in the DCA-listing Bale Price Onions are rising slightly while the larger sizes are decreasing. The shifts are not spectacular, and quality still makes a big difference. The optimal distribution in sizes also makes a big difference in what sorters charge. One turns 45-65 because he has customers who pay extra for that and offers the 60-80 sharply because they are 'left over' while another can deal well with triplets and 50-70 and asks top price for the 60-80 because he doesn't sort them out of a batch.

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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