RM Curtis’s Edible Nuts & Dried Fruit Market Report, August to September 2006, highlights that raisin production will be significantly less this season than last year. According to Mark Setterfield, trading director at RM Curtis, any increases in Californian domestic winery demand will also stretch supply to the limit.

"With Turkish supply deliberately engineered to produce smaller quantities, we would expect to see a widening differential between sultanas and raisins this 06/07 season," he said.

Sultana supply this season is excellent and much improved on last year. This over-supply might generate increased demand but for now explains the more attractive pricing of late.

"With better supply of currants and hopeful pricing against the same period last year, we would also expect to see stronger demand and a downturn in use of midget raisins among those who switched to small raisins when currants carried such a large premium in previous seasons."

For apricots, the weak euro and relatively positive UK exchange rate mean that prices still look attractive against the highs endured for much of the 05/06 season. The demand for apricots, particularly from Eastern Europe, is also quick to fall away once prices climb over certain psychological levels.

The South American supply of prunes is now down to a minimum and with US material unlikely to hit these shores in any major way, France is set to enjoy a monopoly of supply for the next six months. "We suspect this will result in firmer pricing before the relief offered by the new crop Argentine and Chilean product next April/May."