Chilean export returns drop 19%
Chilean fresh fruit export values fell by 19% year-on-year to US$2.15 billion during the first five months of 2012, according to a bulletin released by the country's Office of Agricultural Studies and Policy (ODEPA).
The fall was mainly driven by lower revenues for key export items such as grapes (-19%), apples (-25.5%), blueberries (-12.9%), cherries (-7.5%) and plums (-18.7%).
While some of the fall was due to a decline in volume, the amount of fruit shipped only dropped by 3.2% year-on-year to 1.66 million metric tons (MT), reflecting a significant average decrease in prices.
In the case of plums and cherries export volumes actually rose by 3.7% and 17.5% respectively.
Kiwifruit shipments rose slightly by 0.3% for the period with a 6.6% fall in revenues, however the recorded period runs before the country significant volumes of this product. The same can be said for easy peelers and oranges, but in their early stages these two fruits notched revenue rises of 11.2% and 46% respectively.
For easy peelers the rise is relatively low though considering Chile shipped a tonnage that was 70% higher.
Avocados also yielded positive results with 52.3% more fruit, but revenues rose just 4.6%.
The bulletin highlighted a downward export trend for nectarines and peaches, registering falls of 21% and 17.2% respectively for the period, reflecting a lower surface area and a move towards processing.
Pear values per kilogram dropped as well with a 17.5% fall in values compared to a minor slip in volumes of 1.2%.
The United States continued to be the major importer of Chilean fruits by far, but volumes fell by 8.9% to 548,137MT.
A similar trend was seen for Chile's key continental European entry point the Netherlands, with a 7% drop to 167,095MT. Elsewhere in Europe, the U.K.'s imports were down by 5.5% at 83,808MT and Russia bought 18.9% less fruit at 66,497MT.
In contrast, shipments to China more than doubled hitting 97,427MT, but it should be noted Hong Kong's imports dropped by more than 25,000MT to 41,511MT. Taiwan's imports fell by 7.8% to 33,681MT.
Smaller but increasingly important markets such as Colombia, Brazil and South Korea all showed strength with rises of 14.7%, 33.5% and 23.7% respectively.
Price falls were inherent across Chile's export destinations with negative changes in values relative to volumes. The only destinations in the black compared to the same period in 2012 were China, Colombia, Brazil and South Korea; the latter by just US$12.