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World pear imports at lowest level in five years

Pears - Edited

Pear production up slightly on back of record crop in China

The Russian ban will dampen global pear trade in 2014/15, a year in which production is set to rise a modest 5% to more than 24.4 million tons. Total world pear imports are forecast to reach just under 1.47 million tons, the lowest level for the last five years and down 7.3% on 2013/14.

However Argentina – which should return to its position of number one pear exporter – is set for a good season, according to USDA projections. Its exports are forecast to grow 13% on 2013/14 to 430,000 tons, as greater supplies and the Russian ban enable it to expand its market share to Russia, one of its top markets. Favourable weather suggests Argentina’s production will rebound 20% to 820,000 tons, the USDA said in a report published in December.

Russia will remain the top importer, but with a likely 30% plunge to 275,000 tons due to the ban, which primarily affects the EU, and to a lesser extent the US. “Imports from other countries, such as Argentina and South Africa, are expected to only partially offset these losses,” the USDA said. Russian pear production is expected to rise 6% to 153,000 tons thanks to good weather.

Read more on page 99 of edition 135 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine.




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Russian ban spells shrinkage in apple trade

APPLES red - Edited

Global apple crop will also contract this year – to just under 71 million tons – despite bumper season in the EU, USDA projections show

Global trade in fresh apples is set to drop more than 5% in 2014/15, mainly due to Russia’s ban on fruit from certain countries, says the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Indeed, Russian imports will likely plunge 27% on the previous marketing year, to 800,000 tons, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Services forecasts in its “Fresh Deciduous Fruit (Apples, Grapes, & Pears): World Markets and Trade” report.

Imports from other countries are not expected to replace these volumes due in part to the devaluation of the rouble, a slumping economy, and rising inflation in Russia, it said. EU apple imports are headed downwards, too. The USDA predicts a drop of 12% on last season, to 550,000 tons, “as increased output and the effect of the Russian ban saturate the domestic market.” And apple imports into the US are also predicted to slide, in this case by 11% to 190,000 tons.

Growth in Mexico, Canada, India, Brazil and China

But on the positive side, growth on 2013/14’s imports is expected in Mexico, Canada and India, with respective volumes of 260,000, 225,000 and 200,000 tons. The USDA data also shows Brazil’s apple imports (for which Argentina and Chile are usually the main suppliers) had a growth spurt from 94,000 tons in 2012/13 to 117,000 the next year and are expected to surge to 150,000 this marketing year as production in Brazil stays at about 1.33 million tons. And in China, apple imports are set to rebound to earlier levels – about 40,000 tons – thanks to higher domestic prices making imports more attractive and the re-opening of the market to Washington state apples.

Read more on page 93 of edition 135 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine.


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Global grape harvest to reach 20.5 million tons

GRAPES white table

Worldwide consumption of fresh table grapes has grown nearly 30% in last 5 years

Despite Chinese imports jumping up 20% and US imports rising a more sedate 9%, world table grape imports should remain at just over 2.4 million tons in 2014/15. The small increase on last year’s global imports – less than 1% – will come as table grape production creeps up 2% to 20.6 million tons, according to USDA forecasting. Smaller crops in Turkey and the EU will be more than offset by an 11% gain to 9 million tons in China, where the grape area continues to expand, the USDA said.

Slip expected in US grape exports

Greater availability from top supplier Chile is linked to the projected rise in imports to 565,000 tons in the US, where table grape production is likely to drop 6% to 950,000 tons due to drought in California and hail. Due to flat demand in its top markets Canada and Mexico, exports from the US are headed down 4% to 400,000 tons, the USDA calculates. The EU’s imports are tipped to slide 5% to 540,000 tons and its exports, due in part to the Russian ban, to erode 15% to 130,000 tons. Production in the EU is expected to drop 16% to 1.6 million tons “as area continues to decline due to reduced profitability,” the USDA said. Imports by Russia are expected to ebb only slightly – 1.5% – to 385,000 tons as grapes from other suppliers largely offset those from banned countries. Russia’s grape crop should increase a tenth, to 81,000 tons.

Ongoing growth in Chinese grape imports, world consumption

Enduring strong demand for counter seasonal grapes lies behind China’s likely increase from 231,000 tons of table grape imports in 2013/14 to 280,000 this marketing year. That would mean the country’s grape imports have swollen nearly 260% since 2009/10, when it bought 78,000 tons of foreign grapes. The import tariff for Peru, currently China’s second biggest supplier, dropped to zero on January 1, the USDA noted. While the vast majority of Chinese-grown grapes will be consumed domestically, China’s exports are nevertheless also in line to increase, by 15% to 120,000 tons. After 2013/14’s frost, production in Chile is poised to rebound 14% to 1.2 million tons. The consequent rise of nearly 15% in Chilean exports, to 825,000 tons, is the main factor in an expected 3% increase in global exports this year. Peru’s production is forecast to increase again, by 8% to 540,000 tons as the industry continues to expand its overseas presence. Exports are forecast to increase 9% to 290,000 tons as shipments to all markets continue to expand. Hail and frost in the spring then heavy rains during bloom mean Turkey’s production will be cut 13%, to 1.9 million tons. The lower output and resulting price hikes will in turn provoke a 17% fall in its exports, to 170,000 tons, the USDA estimates. Global consumption of fresh table grapes is set to grow for the 5th consecutive year, going from just over 15.6 million tons in 2009/10 to nearly 20.2 million tons this year, which amounts to a gain of nearly 30%.

Source: “Fresh Deciduous Fruit (Apples, Grapes, & Pears): World Markets and Trade” December 2014, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

From edition 135 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine.


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USDA tips small increase in Italian orange production

ital flg

Italy’s orange crop should be up 4% on last season but there’ll be a lack of big size fruit, says the USDA’s Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN) in a new report. Fruit quality is expected to be good, despite unfavorable weather, though there’ll be more small size oranges in the 2013/14 (November-October) marketing year, it said.

Orange consumption is likely to remain flat in Italy, where most oranges are consumed fresh, principally the blood varieties (Tarocco, Moro, and Sanguinello), GAIN said. In 2012/13, Italy imported 223,566 tons of oranges (mainly from Spain) and exported 126,083 tons (mainly to Germany).

Little change is expected in Italy’s tangerine, lemon, and grapefruit crops. Its tangerine production is more than 80% seedless clementines (mainly Comune or Oroval and Monreal) and the rest mandarins (mainly Avana and Tardivo di Ciaculli varieties), with very slight reductions in production but satisfactory quality forecast for both.

GAIN said Italy’s lemon-producing area (concentrated in Sicily) is gradually shrinking due to reduced profitability and consumption will probably slip 6% on last season.