Blueberry prices in the U.S. and Europe fell sharply in the last couple of months of 2018 amid a significant rise in Peruvian exports this season.
Peruvian blueberry exports from November were 60% higher year-on-year at 54,500 metric tons (MT), according to data from PromPeru. From Chile, total volumes through December were the same as last season at 46,600MT, figures from the Chilean Blueberry Committee show, while from Argentina over the same period they were 8% down at 14,800MT, according to the Argentinean Blueberry Committee.
Meanwhile, average importer-level prices in the U.S. for a 12x6oz box of Southern Hemisphere fruit were up 19% up in October at US$27.50, USDA AMS data shows.
But since then they have fallen well below last year's levels, registering 24% lower in November, 31% lower in December and 32% lower in week 1 of this year. The situation was very similar for prices of Mexican blueberries in the same size format.
Across the Atlantic, wholesale market blueberry prices for a 12x4.4oz box in the Dutch hub of Rotterdam were also up by 18% in October at US$22,74, but they then fell to 4% lower year-on-year in November and 26% lower in December.
Looking at Southern Hemisphere blueberry exports to specific markets, Peru has sent a higher proportion of fruit to the U.S. market this year and a lower proportion to the EU, while the situation is the reverse for Chile and Argentina.
Peru has exported 51% of its fruit to the U.S. compared to 44% last year, while the Netherlands has been sent 22% compared to 26%. The U.K. has been sent 9%, the same as last year.
Chile, on the other hand, has shipped 55% to the U.S. and Canada, compared to 59% last year, and 30% to Europe compared to 25% last year.
Argentina sent 61% of its fruit to the U.S., down from 63%, and 20% to Europe, up from 18%.