Chilean fruit exports fell by a quarter in January

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Chilean fruit exports fell by a quarter in January

In January Chilean fresh fruit exports saw a dip of 23% in value. According to a report from the country's agricultural research center (Odepa), the first month of the year reached US$1.1bn FOB with a total volume of 281,000 metric tons (MT).

The report also details that while there are stable volumes of fruit, coming out of the country's summer harvest, value has been low. Volumes were consistent with the previous year during the same month.

Blueberries and avocados saw the most dramatic decreases in export volumes and value - blueberries with 6% drop in volumes and 5% in value and avocados with a 5% drop in volumes and 29% in value.

The industry attributes this to the impact of coronavirus on the pricing and sales of Chilean fruit abroad. In particular, cherry sales have been most impacted by the epidemic's repercussions. 

However, things seem to be looking up. Chile's fruit exporter's association ASOEX announced last week that there has been a better flow of goods into Chinese ports. President of ASOEX Ronald Bown said that "in the past few days we have seen better movement in commercializing Chilean fruit in the Chinese market".

He added that China's market has been increasing sales by 24% each day in recent days and have taken 70 containers of Chilean fruit that was previously blocked or backed up in ports in the Asian country.

Chile's most exported fruit during January were cherries - with 131,000MT shipped at US$674m in FOB, reflecting a 2% rise in volumes and 29% increase in value.

Behind cherries, blueberry exports were also important for the month. With a total of 44,000MT - US$212m - Chilean blueberries experienced a decline of 6% in volumes and 5% in value compared to the same period last year. The U.S. was the main destination for the fruit, making up 38% of total sales.

Table grapes reached 4,000MT exported at US$75m FOB and avocados came in fourth at 19,000MT with US$37m in FOB.

Cherries and blueberries made up 84% of all exports during the month - a total combined value of US$375m in FOB during Jan. 2020.

Apart from the largest categories for Chilean fruit exports, pears saw a significant increase in exports and value this month - a rise of 44% in exports and 38% in value.

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