Bananas in Charts: U.S. market supplies hit five-year low

April 30 , 2019

In this week's ‘In Charts' installment, Cristian Crespo of data visualization tool Agronometrics illustrates how the U.S. market is evolving. Each week the article will look at a different horticultural commodity, focusing on a specific origin or topic to see what factors are driving change.

Over the last few months, numerous weather-related issues have affected banana production in Central and South America.

The El Niño phenomenon has led to droughts, high temperatures, and heavy rains, among other issues, mainly in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. 

In this In Charts article, we will look at how banana volumes have behaved in the U.S., both historically and over the last few weeks of this year. 

In the following chart you can see that current volumes in the market at a five-year low.


Historic volumes of bananas in the U.S. market

 

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics. (Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)


Most banana supplies in the U.S. come from Central and South America and the Caribbean, with Guatemala the country that has historically shipped the greatest volume to the market, followed by Costa Rica.

In the chart below you can get a sense of the historic volumes from the different origins over the last nine years.


Arrival volumes in the U.S. market, by origin

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics. (Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)


In the chart below you can see how volumes in the U.S. from Costa Rica specifically have behaved historically and so far this year.


Historic arrival volumes from Costa Rica in the U.S. market

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics. (Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)


Meanwhile, Guatemala has seen a particularly pronounced drop over the last four weeks, with volumes in week 16 much lower than what they have historically been around that time of the year.


Historic arrival volumes from Guatemala in the U.S. market

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics. (Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)


Another heavily affected country is Nicaragua, which has already seen a substantial drop in volumes sent to the U.S. over the last five years.

According to local sources, the cause of this drop is largely related to the ongoing political crisis gripping the country, as well as lower competition with other suppliers.


Historic arrival volumes from Nicaragua in the U.S. market

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics. (Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)


Although the USDA does not report prices for bananas, it is likely that such a severe reduction over the last few weeks would have led to higher prices in the market.


In our ‘In Charts’ series, we work to tell some of the stories that are moving the industry. Feel free to take a look at the other articles by clicking here.

You can keep track of the markets daily through Agronometrics, a data visualization tool built to help the industry make sense of the huge amounts of data that professionals need to access to make informed decisions. If you found the information and the charts from this article useful, feel free to visit us at www.agronometrics.com where you can easily access these same graphs, or explore the other 23 fruits we currently track.

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