Agronometrics in Charts: Avocado prices begin to recover as Mexico winds down
In this installment of the ‘Agronometrics In Charts’ series, Colin Fain illustrates how the U.S. market is evolving. Each week the series looks at a different horticultural commodity, focusing on a specific origin or topic visualizing the market factors that are driving change.
After the market jumped towards the beginning of the California season following the Superbowl promotions in February and March, the trend for avocado spot market pricing has been a relatively steady decrease.
Since mid-April, the average pricing for avocados reported by the USDA did not see an increase until May 26.
Hass Avocado Prices (Price Reported) | Non-Organic
The most likely reason for the change in trend is that after a long period of higher than usual volumes, we are finally seeing the amount of fruit arriving to the U.S. begin to decrease significantly. Supply levels are dropping below those reported in 2018 and nearing the levels that we saw last year.
Historic Avocado Volumes | Non-Organic
If we compare with the pricing of the last three years, it is astonishing that the high volumes the market has seen over the last five weeks have resulted in pricing that has maintained as stable as it has been. They leveled out with where they were in 2018 before looking ready to climb again.
The question now is where they will end up. As volumes get increasingly closer to where they were at in 2017, it might even be possible that pricing may jump up as a result.
Historic Hass Avocado Prices (Price Reported) | Non-Organic
In the market right now the main origins are Mexico and California, with the decrease in volume coming primarily from Mexico, which is seeing its season wind down. Looking at previous years, it is likely that Mexico will continue to see diminished volumes for the next ten weeks or so before the 2020-21 crop begins to build up.
Mexico will still be one of the largest suppliers to the market during this period, but if there is any large shift in pricing it will likely be due to unexpected supply from California or the next largest supplier to the market - Peru.
Avocado Volumes by Origin | Non-Organic
California is still going strong and quickly approaching the halfway point in its season. This year's production is following a very similar trend to the 2018 season - a considerable difference to what we saw last year. Should this trend continue, it will be an important component for markets to remain stable.
Historic Avocado Volumes from California | Non-Organic
The wild card this year appears to be Peru. Its season is just beginning and there are reports that the origin is expecting volumes to be 5% over 2018. Most of its fruit goes to Europe, but if pricing is good it is likely that more of Peru’s volume will be directed to the U.S.
On May 30, John Hopkins University reported the largest increase in Covid-19 cases in the country to date, adding a layer of uncertainty to the origins supply. The northern hemisphere is well aware of the impacts the virus can have on supply chains. And although it took longer to reach South America, that region seems to be right in the midst of dealing with the pandemic now, which also coincides with its winter months.
The same article previously referenced above lists the social distancing measures the industry is implementing, but it has yet to be seen how these will play out as the season progresses amid growing cases.
Historic Avocado Volumes from Peru | Non-Organic
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 20 fruits we currently track.