Chilean cherries fetching higher prices in U.S. than last season

The Cherry Express
Chilean cherries fetching higher prices in U.S. than last season

Chilean cherries have been fetching higher importer-level prices year-on-year over recent weeks in the U.S., following a slight reduction in focus on the market over November in favor of China.

Prices during week 47 (Nov. 19) were in line with last year at US$48 per 5-kilogram box, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data shows.

But since then there has been a marked difference, with prices having held relatively firm in contrast to last year.

Prices during week 48 (Nov. 26) were US$47.30 - which is 17% up on the US$40.40 registered in the same week last year - while in week 49 the price of US$43.30 was 12% higher than last year's US$38.70.

During week 50 (Dec. 10) prices were still registered at US$43.30 - 24% up on the same week last year by which time they had dropped down to US$35.

The higher prices partly reflect a reduction in focus on the U.S. market during November. Total shipments during the month were up 7% year-on-year at 2,652 metric tons (MT), according to ODEPA data, but to the U.S. they were 19% down at 441MT. By contrast, to China shipments were up 34% at 1,789MT.

During the first half of December, 10,549MT - representing 78% of exports - were sent to China, compared to 852MT sent to the U.S., 663MT to Brasil, 352MT to South Korea, 339MT to Ecuador, and 700MT to other markets.

Mixed picture for FOB prices for top-three markets

Looking at the FOB prices for Chile's leading cherry markets - China, the U.S. and Brazil - there is a mixed picture for the month of November.

To China the values were down by 7%  - in line with the industry's volume rise - at US$5.52 per kilo, compared to US$5.94 last year, ODEPA data shows. For the U.S. they were 11% down at US$4.59 compared to US$5.15 last year.

For Brazil, however, FOB prices were up by 35% at US$6.92 compared to US$5.12 last year.

But all prices have since dropped significantly from the November average. By week 50, they were registered at US$4.68 for China, US$4.27 for the U.S. and US$4.25 for Brazil.


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