Банкеръ Weekly



The first quantities of early cherries will be imported into the country within a week, dealers from the Slatina wholesale market in Sofia claim. According to forecasts, some 10,000 tons will be imported this year, mostly in May when the Bulgarian fruit has not become ripe yet and prices are highest. Imported cherries, supplied mainly from neighbouring Greece, are expected to vost about USD350/ton, which means that their average wholesale price will be between BGN2.80-3.50/kg and retail prices will reach BGN5/kg. However, these projections may not come true if in the following days unfavourable climatic conditions - cold and heavy rainfall - spoil the crop. In that case prices will rise and the import will considerably decrease.With the liberalization of trade in fruits and in compliance with the new agreements with the European Union (EU), the nomenclature of initially processed cherries and morello cherries will continue to expand in 2004. The import of products which have been almost missing from the Bulgarian market so far will increase. They include temporarily preserved cherries, cherries and morello cherries, preserved with sugar, other sweeteners or alcohol. About 20,000 tons of cherries and some 8,000 tons of morello cherries are expected to be gathered in Bulgaria this year. This quantity does not include the crops from private yards and small orchards. The season of the first ripe fruits starts in the beginning of June and lasts about four weeks. More than half of the yield will be offered for direct consumption. This quantity is estimated at some 11,000 -13,000 tons.Prices will not differ substantially from last year, traders say. The highest prices in 2003 were in the beginning of June when the first quantities of early cherries were retailed at BGN2.10-2.50/kg. With the increase of supply later on the average prices in the country went down to BGN1.10-1.40/kg, and individual batches could be even had at BGN1/kg. Throughout the entire season the average purchase price remained at the level of BGN0.60/kg. The export of cherries has been week for years, but in 2004 we could register an increase by some 30-40 per cent. Germany remains the major destination for the export of Bulgarian fresh cherries where 54% of all exported quantities were sold in 2003. Interest has been announced from Great Britain as well this year, but the long distance makes the deals quite problematic. Anyway, at least 120-150 tons are expected to be forwarded across the English Channel where the market prices are the highest - EUR10-12/kg on average. Traditionally, Italian traders also buy that fruit. Bulgaria has a quota for preferential export of 2,200 tons to the EU countries which we could not fulfil even in half over the last three years. Under the achieved agreements, importers who buy from Bulgaria pay 73% of the customs duties applicable to countries, enjoying the status of the most favoured nation. Despite teh fair terms, however, in 2003 again we'll be far from utilizing the quota, experts are adamant.Bulgarian Export of Fresh Cherries by YearsCountry Year Quantity (in tons)Germany 2001 38.4 2002 115.2 2003 130.9 Belgium 2001 15.4 2002 no 2003 59.4 Great Britain 2001 36.6 2002 55.9 2003 62.4Note: Data from Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

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