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Blueberries in Charts: With prices at their highest so far this year, will they continue to rise?


To introduce our Custom Reports Lab, I thought I would use the tool to help understand the current blueberry markets.

The Custom Reports Lab, which we released this week, allows any user of the system to cross data from multiple datasets into a single report. In the chart below we use the tool to show the prices and volumes of blueberries on the U.S. market, which, as a special treat for the launch, I built as a weekly report. Because of all the different packages used in the industry, I am using the average of price per pound to better capture the trends and help tell our story.

The U.S. blueberry market is characterized by big price swings driven by the volume of fruit that arrives to satisfy customer demand. The chart below demonstrates the relationship between the price and the volume better than just about any other commodity we work with. Looking towards the end of the chart we can see that blueberry prices have been rising steadily for the last nine weeks, culminating in the highest price we have seen this year so far. In tandem with this has been a steady drop in volumes, which was mostly uninterrupted until last week’s shipments arrived from Peru.

U.S. Conventional Blueberry Volumes and Prices

(Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics)
[Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here]

So as all this is shaping up, it is important to keep in mind the historical information that precedes the current movements. Interestingly, the prices we are now seeing are almost perfectly aligned with last year, which abruptly fell in week 41. So what can we expect this year? It’s worth mentioning that the current prices levels are by no means a ceiling. Looking at 2015 we can see that the market has much farther to go.

US Blueberry Shipping Point Weekly Historical Prices per Lb

(Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics)
[Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here]

When trying to understand the markets, often our best source of information is historical data. Looking at this year’s movements we can see that the volumes are surprisingly similar to in 2015.

So can we expect prices upwards of $8.23/pound this year as well? My immediate answer is that it is very unlikely, but as any good analyst would say, it depends. As a guide for how the market may react going forward, I would look at the gap in volumes between 2015 and 2017 to very roughly help explain the difference in pricing between those years.

US Blueberry Weekly Historical Movements
(Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics)
[Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here]


Written by: Colin Fain
Original published in FreshFruitPortal.com on October 17, 2018 (Link)

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