Thai fruit exports to the U.S. down in H1
Sharp falls in U.S. imports of Thai tamarinds and frozen durians helped push down total import volumes from the Southeast Asian country in the first six months of 2017.
According to data from Thai Customs, U.S. imports of Thai fruits and nuts dropped by 18% year-on-year down to 14,787 metric tons (MT).
In value however, the reduction was far less pronounced, down just 3% at 1.26 billion baht (US$36 million).
Young coconuts accounted for more than half the volume at 7,087MT but just 22% of value at 280.6 million baht (US$8.4 million).
Shelled cashew nuts were the second-largest import at 210.9 million baht (US$6.3 million). This represented a 12% fall in value, in contrast to a 25% cut in volume at 520MT.
Thai tamarind exporters were clearly finding good value in the U.S. market as in volume they shipped 25% less (1,155MT) yet the value reduction was minor at 3% to 123.5 million baht (US$3.7 million).
The frozen durian trade (third-largest volume, fourth-largest in value) also took a hit with a 31% export reduction to 116.8 million baht (US$3.5 million) and a 26% fall in volume to 832MT.
The performance of Thai fresh durians was much better though, with volume up 53% at 224MT, and value up 54% at 36.9 million baht (US$1.1 million).
Other success stories included mangosteens which notched a 37% rise in value to 85.2 million baht (US$2.6 million) and a 44% uptick in volume to 371.6MT, while there was a surge in dried mango exports with a 94% rise in value to 72.7 million baht (US$2.2 million) and a 166% increase in volume to 122MT.
The total export value from Thailand to the U.S. rose 21% last year to reach US$71.6 million, with the North American country overtaking Indonesia as Thailand's fourth-largest fruit export destination.
Vietnam on the rise as Thai fruit destination
China was the leading buyer of Thai fruit exports last year with purchases of US$524.7 million, but trends to date this year mean it is possible Vietnam could become the top destination in 2017.
In the 2016 calendar year Vietnam purchased US$508 million worth of Thai fruit, but first half exports were edging very close to that mark at 15 billion baht (US$451 million).
Thai fresh durian exports to Vietnam grew exponentially by 703% to 6 billion baht (US$180 million), while the remainder of the top six export products also had significant gains including Mata Kucing longans (+182%), mangosteens (287%), longans (+123%), pomelos (+669%) and frozen durians (+687%).