The current Coronavirus pandemic appears to have had a relatively small impact on the EU’s 2019/20 harvest, coming as it did at the end of the campaign. The total crop is projected to reach 6.2 million tons this season, according to data released by the EU Commission. This volume represents a 5% drop from the previous campaign, due to smaller yields. In recent weeks, demand has risen across the world for both oranges and orange juice as consumers look for sources of vitamin C to remain healthy. The sharp increase in retail sales have more than offset the drop in the foodservice channel. The increased demand has driven prices up both globally and in the EU.
Global logistics problems, particularly with shipments to China, meant that EU fresh orange exports were markedly down in March 2020 (-13% y-o-y). The increased local demand is also likely to have a dampening effect on exports. Imports to the EU during the 2019/20 campaign until the end of March were down 20% from the previous season, although recent months have seen the gap between the two campaigns close somewhat.