The EastFruit team continues to monitor the global and regional onion markets where tensions are heightened due to a series of bans and shocks, which we described in detail in the article “Global fresh onion market review – are prices about to skyrocket?”.
Recall that onion export bans have already been introduced by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Azerbaijan. There are so far unconfirmed rumors about restrictions on the export of onions from Iran and similar restrictions in Russia, where wholesale prices have soared 2.3 times over the past four weeks.
With this in view, one could expect an increase in onion exports from the EU countries, where the Netherlands is the main exporter, to Eastern Europe and Central Asia. However, the Netherlands exports the main part of onions to African countries, and the logistics are different. Meanwhile, demand for onions in Africa was moderate this season, although, onion production in the Netherlands was also lower than usual due to the summer drought.
This resulted in prices remaining quite high throughout the season, but in January 2023 they were stable. Market participants expected price changes only after the Fruit Logistica exhibition, which starts tomorrow in Berlin, and where the global fruit and vegetable trade participants traditionally gather.
However, as early as last week, onion prices started growing fast. Wholesale prices in Poland increased by 16% over the week and kept growing this week. There are similar dynamics in the Netherlands where yellow onions were sold at up to $0.70/kg last week – more expensive than in Poland. This is a record-high wholesale price for onions in the Netherlands.
What’s more, market participants are reporting that onion stocks are running out fast, which is why several wholesalers raised the prices again this week. These price changes have an even greater negative impact on the export of Dutch onions to the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, where the Netherlands supplies more than 600 000 tonnes annually.
It will be clear at the end of this week to what extent the growth rate of onion prices can be maintained. However, there will be many wholesale buyers from countries unusual for Dutch exporters that will be looking for opportunities to buy onions at the exhibition in Berlin.
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