Brazil’s economic crisis hits fruit trade as imports tumble

March 21 , 2016

Corruption scandals involving some of the highest levels of government in Brazil has led to the BBC drawing comparisons with Netflix series ‘House of Cards’, and the economy is not looking too much better.

The fruit trade is likely one of the last things on the minds of the commentariat in South America’s largest country, but the deteriorating economy is taking its toll on imports at least.

This not only has a bearing on Northern Hemisphere countries that ship their fruit to Brazil, but also key Latin American exporters such as Chile, Argentina and Peru which have seen one of their main market outlets squeezed.

Apples are by far Brazil’s leading fruit crop for import purchases, and the category dropped by 34% to 77,395 metric tons (MT) in 2015, according to the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade’s online information system ‘AliceWeb’.

Marginal percentage falls were seen for other leading import crops, including grapes (-5.8% to 31,818MT), plums (-2.2% to 31,516MT) and oranges (-3.8% to 15,450MT).

Gains were seen for imports of kiwifruit (+5.9% to 23,535MT), peaches (+9.3% to 11,622) and nectarines (+4% to 10,550MT), but to a large extent these were just recoveries bringing back imports to 2013 levels.

Other imports to have fallen include tangerines (-7%), lemons (-18%), cherries (-33%), persimmons (-17%), blueberries (-25%), the category raspberries and blackberries (-3%) and strawberries (-66%).

And with an average exchange rate of 3.95 reais to the U.S. dollar in 2016 to date, compared to a rate of 3.33 in 2015 and 2.35 in 2014, this trend is unlikely to change any time soon.


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