The 2019/20 EU citrus crop is projected to fall, mainly due to unfavourable weather in Spain, according to FAS Madrid data. Fruit quality is estimated to be excellent. Consumption of citrus is predicted to rise in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as consumers look for sources of vitamin C to strengthen the immune system. The higher demand and lower supply pushed up prices in Spain during the first 16 weeks of 2020. EU imports of citrus are expected to grow slightly, mainly from Morocco and South Africa. The main export markets for EU citrus are Switzerland, Norway, and Canada, but exports to China and the Middle East have risen significantly in recent times. EU citrus exports are projected to continue growing in strategic markets. One dark spot is that US tariffs imposed to the WTO case against EU aircraft subsidies may impact EU citrus exports, primarily Spanish clementines and lemons. Spain´s citrus sector has held up well since the start of the pandemic and has continued to meet domestic and export demand.
Following the formal adoption of the organisation’s Statutes in March 2020, the WCO Secretariat just collected and released the first crop production and export forecasts for the forthcoming Southern Hemisphere citrus season 2020. The preliminary forecast is collected from industry associations in Argentina, Australia, Chile, Peru, South Africa, and Uruguay. The Secretariat is working closely with Brazil and Bolivia to include their data as well into the forecast very shortly.
The preliminary forecast shows that the 2020 citrus Southern Hemisphere crops is expected to reach 8.387.341 T, which represents a small decrease of 3% compared to the 2019 crop. Export is expected to increase by 12% to 3.486.883 T, which could be explained as a result of consumers’ higher demand for citrus fruit in COVID-19 times, thanks to the nutritional benefits associated with citrus and more home consumption. On the processing side, a total of 2.426.154 T of citrus are expected to be destined to the juice market (pending the confirmation of Brazil’s data), which constitutes a decrease of 15% compared to 2019.
By citrus categories, the soft citrus and lemon & lime markets show stable figures, with similar production volumes compared to 2019, whereas orange showed a small decrease (-6%), and grapefruit production increased by 3 percent compared to the previous year. Expected export volumes show increases across all categories, with lemon & lime projecting the greatest increase, by 32% compared to 2019.
WCO is now fully operational with a complete agenda of activities for 2020. In July, a meeting of the membership will review the state of the industry and take stock of the latest consumer trends and producing countries’ experiences in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Indeed, in the past months, citrus has been highlighted as one of the most attractive fruit categories for consumers, given their health properties. Consequently, the issue of nutrition and promotion of citrus consumption will also be discussed with members in the upcoming meeting.
EU apple prices during the ongoing campaign are significantly above the average for the past five years, due to the small crop. According to Wapa/Prognosfruit data, this campaign’s crop is down 20% from the preceding year and 11% below the 5-year average. Compared to the challenging 2018/19 campaign (excess of supply in some Member States, especially in Poland), 2019/20 has seen a great recovery in the sector. EU apple stocks on 1st December 2019 were at their lowest level since 2012.
Although the average EU apple price this campaign is well above five-year average, there are some divergences between Member States. Poland’s prices have seen the greatest recovery. French apple prices are above average but lower than the preceding campaign, as the French crop is actually larger this season. Meanwhile, German prices were slightly above average and Italian prices have recovered gradually from a difficult end to the previous marketing year.
For prices to remain high, EU internal demand will need to stay high. A mild winter could thwart this aim by dampening demand.
The world’s total orange production for the 2019/20 season is projected to drop 11% to 47.5 million tons due to unfavourable growing conditions in Brazil, Egypt, the European Union, and Morocco, according to USDA data. As a result, consumption, fruit for processing, and fresh exports are also expected to plummet.
Brazil’s production is forecast to fall 22% to 15.1 million tons due to weather-related problems (warm temperatures and below-average rainfall after the first two blooms and fruit set). Oranges for processing are down 3.9 million tons to 10.4 million, while fresh orange consumption is lowered to 4.7 million tons, the lowest in 4 years.
In contrast, China’s orange crop is estimated to climb slightly to 7.3 million due to favourable climatic conditions. Imports are up 3% as consumer demand is rising for premium, high-quality oranges. Egypt and South Africa are the top suppliers to China, accounting for over 70% of imports.
US production is forecast to rise for the second consecutive year, albeit only by 1% to 4.9 million tons. Consumption, exports, and fruit for processing are all expected to be up in line with the larger crop.
The 2019/20 global citrus crop is down for all categories, except grapefruit. Orange production is down 11% to 47.5 million, due to weather-afflicted seasons in Brazil, the EU, Morocco and Egypt, with small increases in China and the US unable to compensate for these losses. The global mandarin crop is down 1% to 31.7 million tons, with drops in all major production regions, especially Turkey (-9%) except China. The world’s lemon crop is estimated to be down 7% to 7.9 million tons, with Argentina (-11%), the EU (-13%), Turkey (-9%) and the US (16%) all suffering challenging seasons due to weather events. Mexico’s and South Africa’s lemon and lime production are both expected to be up. Lastly, grapefruit was the one citrus category that registered a larger crop in the 2019-20 campaign, with larger harvests in China, South Africa, Turkey and the US more than offsetting the 18% fall in the EU’s crop.
The world’s apple markets in 2018 look rather to different to those of 2017 as they adapt to trade disputes and weather-related booms and shortages.
Despite a strong EU fresh crop, global fresh apple production fell 9% to 68.7 million tons in 2018/19 due to weather-related losses in the world’s largest producing country, China, according to USDA data. The lower quality product led to an 8% fall in exported volumes to 5.7 million tons and a rise in volumes for processing, at the expense of apples for consumption. China remains the world’s largest exporter, followed by the US and Italy. Germany is the world’s largest apple importer, followed by Russia and the UK.
With China’s crop shrinking 25% to 31.0 million tons (its lowest level in nine years), exports were down by nearly a third to 880,000 tons. To compensate for the smaller domestic crop, imports rose 19% to 75,000 tons. While the US remains China’s top Northern Hemisphere supplier, the 50-percent retaliatory trade tariff imposed on US apples is opening up opportunities for other sources. Indeed, greater volumes arrived this year from New Zealand and the EU, which more than offset the lower supplies from the US.
In the EU, after a bad 2017/18, the 2018/19 crop was up 40% to 14.0 million tons thanks to increases in production area and productivity. With greater availability, the EU saw a 71% surge in its exports to 1.2 million tons and a fall in imports to 470,000 tons. There was a particularly large jump in shipments to Egypt and India, with the latter currently imposing a ban on Chinese apples for phytosanitary reasons.
US production is expected to fall 0.75% to 5.0 million due to a slightly smaller crop in Washington. Trade disputes are taking their toll on US apple exports, with Mexico and India both imposing retaliatory tariffs. This is expected to have induced a fall of almost 25% in shipments to 760,000 tons. Meanwhile, imports to the US are expected to be up to 160,000 tons due to higher shipments from Southern Hemisphere suppliers New Zealand and Chile.
Turkey’s crop increased 9% to 3.0 million tons due to favourable growing conditions. This should lead to a 26% jump in exports to 240,000, with the Iraqi market becoming an ever more important destination.
India’s apple sector has recovered from a bad 2017/18, with a rise of 21% in its crop size to 2.3 million tons. Despite experiencing a major shift in its sources of imported apples, volumes remained stable at 245,000 tons, with higher shipments from the EU, New Zealand and Chile offsetting the lack of imports from China and lower supplies from the US.
Russia’s apple sector has undergone a major restructuring in recent years thanks to government support for agricultural production. Apple output rose 10% to 1.5 million tons as commercial orchards become more productive. With domestic production rising and lower shipments from China, imports dropped 7.4% to 795,000 tons.
In Chile, unfavourable growing conditions led to a slight shrinkage in the country’s crop size to 1.3 million tons. Lower availability led to a 5% drop in exports to 739,000 tons.
South Africa’s apple production continues its slow recovery from years of drought, with production up 6.3% to 840,000 thanks to better irrigation water and growing conditions. Exports are set to surge 20% to 540,000 tons.
In Mexico, late frosts led to a fall in output for the third consecutive campaign, with volumes down 7% to 660,000 tons. Despite the lower domestic supplies, imports were down to 240,000 tons due to the retaliatory tariff imposed on US apple imports between June 2018 and May 2019.
New Zealand’s production contracted 2.5% to 560,000 tons due to smaller calibre fruit. The country’s apple production area is expanding by around 4% each year. Exports are stable at 370,000 tons, as higher volumes to Vietnam offset smaller deliveries to the EU.
Credit: Calvados Tourisme (calvados-tourisme.com)
The global apple crop is expected to be at its lowest for eight years, down 9% to 68.7 million tons, according to FAS/USDA data. The slump is mainly due to China’s substantial weather-afflicted campaign, which more than offsets gains in the EU. China’s crop size is forecast to drop 25% to 31 million tons – nine-year low. The smaller output is set to lead to a fall in exports of around a third, to 880,000 tons, while imports are expected to rise 20% to 75,000, with the greatest increase constituted by shipments from New Zealand and the EU, which more than offset lower supplies from the US. Despite the ongoing trade war with China, which has resulted in a 50% retaliatory tariff, the US remains China’s top Northern Hemisphere.
The EU apple crop looks very different from last year’s, and is set to rebound from last year’s weather-damaged campaign. Volumes are up 40% to 14 million tons. The higher supplies have spurred a massive increase in exports to Egypt and India, with total shipments reaching 1.2 million tons. Meanwhile, imports to the EU are projected to drop markedly.
The EU’s 2018/19 citrus production is estimated at 11.6 million tons, up 8% from 2017/18. The main contributor to this rise is the large Spanish crop that resulted from favourable weather conditions. Indeed, Spain’s citrus output climbed 14.6% to reach 7.3 million tons. The quality of the crop is expected to be excellent. EU orange production is forecast at 6.5 million tons, up 4% due to increased volumes in Spain and Portugal. EU lemon production is estimated to be up 10% to 1.6 million tons, while EU grapefruit production is expected to increase by 2.8% to 110,000 tons.
However, things are not all positive for Spanish citrus, as producers have to deal with cheaper imports from South Africa and Egypt. Demand in the EU is expected to remain flat this year. It is suggested that the rise in EU citrus volumes may lead to a lowering in imports from third countries. The EU exports citrus to Canada, the Middle East and China.
The 2018-19 Spanish citrus crop has seen increases across the board, according to official data from the country’s Ministry of Agriculture. The largest increases are in satsuma (+31.3%), lemon (+21.5%), clementine (+20.5%), orange (+14.3%), tangerine hybrids (+13.9%) and grapefruit (+4.1%). Tangerine varieties were up 19.5% overall.
As for non-citrus vegetables and fruit crops, very early data show little variation in extra-early potato (+ 0.4%) and slight a rise in the “January-May collection” tomato crop (+1.1%). As for other vegetables, the most notable increases were recorded in green peas (+22%), celery (+15.6%) and escarole (+15.1%). Meanwhile, there are drops in the production of green beans (-16.1%), leek (-15.6%) and cucumber (-13.2%). Data for the 2018 harvest indicate that broccoli output increased by 4.3%, while artichoke production fell by 4.1% and the avocado crop by 3.4%.
As for fruit production, very preliminary data indicates an increase in peach (+6.3%) and plum (+2.8%), but a decline in apricot (-7.2%) and cherry (-3.3%).
Preliminary estimates for Spain’s 2019 vegetable campaigns indicate an increase in volumes of endive (11.8%), and aubergine (0.4%), but a fall in fava beans (-9.1%), according to data published by the Ministry of Agriculture. As for the estimates of the 2018 harvest, there were increases recorded for cauliflower (+25.8%) and broccoli (+5.4%), but a contraction in the production of lettuce (3.2%),artichoke (-2.4%) and spinach (-2%). As for fruit trees, the estimate for the 2018 kiwi crop shows a significant increase (+23.1%), while there was a slight drop in avocado (-0.9%).