Chilean fruit exports in 2018-19: Some key changes

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Chilean fruit exports in 2018-19: Some key changes

Although the 2018-19 Chilean fruit season shows relatively unchanged total exports, there were some interesting changes that took place.

Fruit exports totaled approximately 2.7 million metric tons (MT), according to data released by the Chilean Fruit Exporters’ Association (Asoex).

Down by 2% from last year's season, this season's slight decline is only a small digression from the progressive uptick noted in the past six seasons.

Exports started out strong this year with numbers in September through December showing slightly above last season's.

Later in the season is where the data shows a slowing down of exports relative to the previous season.

Looking more closely into the statistics, some other interesting changes to note are:

The growing market in the Far East

Earlier in the season, Latin America made big strides as an importer and was the number-two destination of Chilean exports. However, the Far East ended up following its upward curve and coming up above Latin America.

Exports to the Far East sailed this year, growing by 7.9%. The market ended up receiving an impressive 25% of all exports - approximately 676,200MT of Chilean fruit.

Growth in the Far East was mostly seen in China/Hong Kong and Korea with 16% and 22.7% increases respectively.

The U.S. remains the leading export market, reaching a 32% market share this year. 916,000MT of shipments were sent to the U.S. and Canada this year.

Additionally, in third, the European market received 552,500MT of Chilean fruit in 2018-19.

Big rises for mandarins and plums

Mandarins seem to be something to look out for. The fruit had big gains despite not being exported to the Far and Middle East. 

The U.S. alone rose 92% in Chilean mandarin imports while overall, the fruit's exports were up 87% from 2017-18.

It is also worth mentioning that plum exports are up as well with a 29% year-on-year increase. The Far East imported 80% more (78,700MT) this year. An odd outlier in that region was also in pear exports as the Far East had a 260% rise in pear imports (from 679MT to 2,400MT).

While those changes occur, apples consistently remain the country's most exported fruit. Apple exports totaled 707,382MT of exported apples. Although this is down about 9% from last season, the fruit still represents 26% of all fruit exports.

In the U.S., Chilean apple imports increased notably. There was an increase of 26% year-over-year for apples sent to the country - along with an 18% surge in lemons.

Apples and grapes, while experiencing downticks recently, are solidly the country's most exported fruits. Unsurprisingly, close behind apples in total exports are table grapes with 24% of exports.

Table grape exports continue to shift away from Europe

Table grapes, historically a powerhouse export, fell by 10.6% this year. The fruit's exports fell in all regions except the Middle East.

In Europe, grape exports dropped from 128,800MT to 97,600MT and were surpassed by avocados, of which 98,400MT were imported from Chile. Overall year-on-year trends indicate that generally fewer Chilean grapes are being exported to Europe - and this year there was a 16% decrease.

This follows a notable rise in exports to the region last year after relatively consistent export figures. According to larger, six-year trends, it is possible that this decline in Europe is merely a re-adjustment from 2017-18 season's rise.

However, table grapes remain the most imported fruit in U.S. and Far East markets.

A staple product for importing countries, Chilean table grapes still represent a significant percentage of nearly all regions' imports. For instance, 34% of fruit exports to the U.S., 18% of exports to Europe and 14% of exports to the Far East are table grapes.

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