Raw honey prices are still very firm. A smaller than expected USA crop, coupled with a lack of surplus raw honey in the world market have kept prices strong. Some available raw honey in the world market is being held for better pricing. At the same time, demand has been very strong from the consumer level through the food service and industrial levels. U.S. packers also struggle to compete for honey on the world market with the US weaker dollar versus other world currencies.
U.S.A. - The California raw honey crop was very poor, with continued drought in that state. Raw honey from the Southern part of the U.S., which produces much of the nations Light Amber honey, was also short. Very cool, wet conditions in the Upper Midwest (which produces most of the honey in the U.S.) reduced the crop substantially. The final 2009 crop numbers are not in, but some have projections indicated at 15% below last year's crop of 161 million lbs.
Canada - The weather was also very cool and wet in Canada. Their crop will be comparable to the U.S. in diminished production. Canadian honey prices usually parallel U.S. prices and are actually higher so far this year.
South America - Projections for the Argentina raw honey crop are dismal as drought continues to be a factor. Brazil, which produces almost year round, should be in better shape, but as Europe competes more and more for that honey, those prices remain strong.
India - India's crop is just starting to come in, and offerings from there are few. Demand for this honey will be high. Conditions are favorable for a good crop, but competition will be heavy and prices will be strong.
Viet Nam - Usually a good source for favorably priced legitimate light amber honey, Viet Nam had a very poor 2009 crop. That crop is virtually sold, and the new crop will come in early 2010.
As far as China, it is always hard to gauge China's honey crop, but it should be better than last year's poor crop. Much of last year's honey crop was sold through 3rd countries or sold as honey syrup to avoid duties. Circumvention of Chinese honey appears to be rampant. Virtually no Chinese honey is being imported into the U.S., but large volumes of honey are being imported from countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Ukraine and Mongolia? These countries are offering honey at more favorable prices, but again this is very suspect honey for contamination and adulteration.