Apricots from Spain - traditionally the first stone fruit to arrive as the European season gets under way - will initially be in short supply because of problems caused to the crop by frost.
Valencia has suffered major damage, although Murcia has fared much better, which means the overall Spanish harvest will be 8% higher than last year. Trade forecasts, however, point to fruit being short this month and in early June.
Greece has been hit with a reduction of about a third to 40,000 tonnes, following a bumper 2004. Italy has escaped any weather damage, though it will still be 8% lighter than last year’s record 212,000 tonnes.
French production, of greater prominence since growers switched from production of other stone fruit, has fared better than expected. Even so, producers have downsized initial optimistic estimates from 165,000 to 148,000 tonnes.
Overall, total European apricot yields are set to be 500,000 tonnes, slightly lighter than last year, but similar to the five-year average between 1999 and 2003.