Aussie stonefruit exporter expects post-Chinese New Year congestion -

Aussie stonefruit exporter expects post-Chinese New Year congestion

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Aussie stonefruit exporter expects post-Chinese New Year congestion

Australian stonefruit exports to Asia have gone well this year but a flood of Chilean cherries has led to concerns about congestion after the Chinese New Year break, according to 888 Exports managing director David Minnis.

Minnis has told the Australian harvest was early this year with smaller sizes in the beginning, but good prices were still achieved in Asia leading up to the Chilean influx.

"Most early shipments of apricots, peaches and nectarines went to the Middle East. As size improved more and more fruit was shipped to Hong Kong , and found its' way into China. Sales into Singapore were also quite good. In December, sea freight shipments of nectarines occurred into Taiwan, but they weren't huge," he says.

"Throughout the early part of January there were strong prices for larger white fleshed peaches and nectarines in China.  Early sales of plums were also strong.

"All of this early fruit was from Australia, and Chile didn't arrive with stonefruit until just before Chinese New Year. However what Chile did ship were huge quantities of cherries."

Minnis says the market became "utterly flooded" by Jan. 18 and as a consequence the sales of other products suffered prior to Jan. 23.

"Just because importers made money in season 2011, it doesnt mean it can be repeated. Besides, Chinese New Year was two weeks earlier, so exporters oversupplied the market and the Jiangnan market couldn't physically handle the volume," he adds.

"Our information is that 200 odd containers of cherries were not sold before Chinese New Year and with more  to arrive after the festivities, the market could be still suffering indigestion after the break.

While Thailand has blocked Australian stonefruit exports this season, Minnis is confident in the overall opportunities in Asian markets.

"The volume of Australian stonefruit exports was up on the previous two years to the end of November, so the signs are good for a recovery of supply to many Asian markets this year."

Stonefruit hit but mangoes in the clear

Australian Horticultural Exporters Association (AHEA) president Maxwell Summers has told his country's mangoes were selling well in China and Hong Kong, but Chilean cherries had pushed out other fruits.

"The dumping of Chilean cherries in Hong Kong and China has just about devastated the market for anything else. There’s not a lot of room for Australian fruit, and neither for New Zealand fruit from what I understand," he says.

"As a result, Australian exporters are re-directing to a lot of markets, as their sales of stonefruit have been impacted."

Related stories: Fruit overload hits HK with Chinese New year logistical 'collapse'

Thai cherry ban hits Tasmania despite pest-free status

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