Chile: Fruit exports contract in H1 as leading commodity slides

July 23 , 2019

A significant decline in the value of Chilean table grape exports during the first half of the year contributed to a 6% drop in total fruit exports over the period.

From January through June, the country's fruit exports contracted from US$4.3 billion to US$4 billion, according to customs data.

The drop was largely due to a 15% decrease in exports of table grapes  - the leading fruit export over the period - to US$1.1 billion.

The table grape sector has seen declining exports over recent years amid a lack of profitability that has led many growers to abandon the business, as well as widespread varietal reconversion to seedless varieties.

In addition, exports of blueberries and apples - the number-three and -four export commodities, - dropped by 9% and 17%, respectively, to US$512 million and US$396 million.

There were also declines for kiwifruit - which was down by 16% at US$101 million - as well as the mandarins and clementine category - which collectively saw a 32% drop to US$36 million.

But there were gains for cherries - the number-two fruit export over the period. Cherry exports rose by 10% to US$911 million.

And with the industry expecting greater volumes over the coming years, it is likely that cherries will overtake table grapes as the leading fruit export of the first half of the year.

Meanwhile, there were also increases for plums - which rose by 6% to US$251 million - and avocados - which saw a 13% uptick to US$94 million.

In total, Chilean fruit exports represented 22% of total non-mineral exports from the country over the six-month period.

 

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