Kiwifruit marketer Zespri has boosted its latest price forecast for gold kiwifruit, but lowered it slightly for the main green variety as it works through a record production season.
Zespri also reported a big lift in its sales and returns for the past season at its annual general meeting in Tauranga yesterday. Zespri chief executive Lain Jager said based on current sales and market performance, it was now expecting gold returns to increase by almost $1 a tray this year over its earlier May forecast. “In May for gold, we forecast a range of $6.70 – $7.20 [per tray]. Our July forecast is up $7.60 – $7.90, really reflecting very strong run rates for gold, and reduced promotional investment on the back of those strong run rates. “For green, we’ve got a very big green crop this year, yields of 11,000 trays per hectare, up from 9000 trays last year. And so, while the green season is going well, with strong sales rates, those high volumes mean we’ll be selling later. There are some higher costs associated with that, so the green forecast is now $4.80 – $5.20, just down a little from $5 – $5.50 in the May forecast.” Both the gold and green price forecasts are well down on last season’s per tray returns, but Mr Jager said 2014 was an extraordinary year, with severe frosts in Chile contributing to a global shortage of kiwifruit. Zespri ended up with a 16 percent increase in its export returns from sales of 95 million trays. It is expecting its biggest ever selling season this year with more than 118 million trays – 5 million more than the previous record season in 2011, before the Psa vine disease made its impact.