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News

AMITOM: early production prospects for 2019

21/01/2019 - Sophie Colvine , François-Xavier Branthôme - 2019 Season - Read in French
A return to cautious optimism?

The General Meeting of the AMITOM held in Rome at the beginning of January was the opportunity to add some details and adjustments to the processing data collected at the end of 2018 regarding last season. A total of 13.838 million metric tonnes were processed during this past season, which is 2.6 million tonnes less than in 2017. Volumes processed last year also differed sharply from the average levels of operations of the three previous marketing years (2015 to 2017), as results for the AMITOM in 2018 were 2.8 million metric tonnes (mT) lower than the average of the three previous seasons (16.63 million mT).
In 2018, the AMITOM accounted for 40% of worldwide processing, slightly less than over the three previous years (42.5%)

This first General Meeting of 2019 also provided the opportunity for the assembled delegations to announce preliminary levels that processing volumes are likely to reach next summer in the Mediterranean region. As of 14 January, processing prospects for AMITOM countries in 2019 have been stated at 15.98 million mT, an increase of slightly less than 2 million mT (approximately 15%) compared to the 2018 result. However, this new "target" is only 300 000 mT higher (2.8%) than the average level of operations over the past three marketing years (15.5 million mT).
 
For the time being, processing intentions signal an expected increase for all AMITOM countries, which seems to indicate a certain level of confidence regained in the commercial prospects of the year ahead. However, this optimism remains cautious: in a detailed breakdown, the most significant increases are most obviously linked to the low results of this past year (Greece, France, Iran (to be confirmed), Turkey) or to lower exposure to the uncertainties of the global trade context (Ukraine, Tunisia, Hungary). Other countries also remain cautious, even if pressure from the agricultural upstream is pushing processors to slightly raise their processing intentions, as can be observed in the cases of Italy (+6%) or Spain (+4%).

In the final count, current intentions have naturally been adjusted to fit the general pattern of slower worldwide processing dynamics, by remaining below the peak levels reached during the 2015-2017 period. Following the successive increases and decreases in levels of operations, and given the increase in the number of countries that have joined the Mediterranean association, the volumes processed by countries that are AMITOM members in 2019 have increased by an annual average of 2% over the past 30 years (2.7% for the period running 1989-2015, then -2.3% for the period running 2015-2019). Overall, these volumes have grown from 8.8 million mT in 1989 to 15.96 mT (processing intentions) in 2019. And everything indicates that the season currently being prepared will be the first year of a new growth cycle, like the five similar cycles that the industry has undergone in recent decades.

AMITOM processing forecast as of 14 January 2019
European Union
Portugal

2019 production should remain at the same level as in 2018 with 1.2 million tonnes expected. The surface planted should decrease further as processors are hesitant to increase prices which should remain stable in an effort to control volumes. 
The government has shortened the period of contracting which must now be done by the end of January, as in Spain.

Spain
It is too early to give a precise forecast but the current estimate is for about 2.9 million tonnes to be processed this year: production should remain similar to last year in Extremadura while good water availability in Andalusia should mean a higher production.  

France
The average production of the last three years (172,000 tonnes) is the best estimate which can be given pending a more precise forecast when processors intentions are clear.

Italy
The current forecast for 2019 stands at 4.95 million tonnes with 2.55 million tonnes in the north and 2.4 million tonnes in the centre and south. Negotiations are starting. 

Greece
The current forecast is 400,000 tonnes. After the catastrophic season in 2018 (rains at the worst time), growers are not eager to plant tomatoes despite a price increase. 

Hungary
The current forecast is 140,000 tonnes as the smallest processor (Hatvan) should process about 20, 000 tonnes this year despite earlier indications it may cease production. Product portfolio will not be extended (only paste to be processed). 

Countries outside the European Union
Tunisia

The surface planted should increase in 2019 following good rains this winter and the forecast stands at 760,000 tonnes.

Ukraine
The forecast for 2019 is 850,000 tonnes. 

Turkey
A first estimate is 1.9 million tonnes but this will be confirmed after a meeting of the board of SALKONDER on 21 January. 

With a report or 2018 figure or the best guess for the other countries, the total AMITOM forecast currently stands at 15.95 million tonnes, with 9.77 million tonnes for the EU countries

Some complementary data
The proportion for which leading countries of the AMITOM region are responsible has tended to decrease.
 
 

Source: AMITOM

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