Southern Hemisphere notched record fruit exports to Asia in 2019
Southern Hemisphere fruit exporting countries notched record shipments to key Asian markets in 2019, with both volume and value rising in the double digits year-on-year.
The Southern Hemisphere Association of Fresh Fruit Exporters (SHAFFE) said that exports rose by 13% in volume to 2.6m metric tons (MT) and 15% in value to US$7.6bn.
The group represents exporters from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa and Uruguay.
Chile remained the leading world fruit exporter to Asian destinations, continuing its double-digit five-year average growth (20%), followed by New Zealand (16%) and Australia (20%), with all SHAFFE countries currently consolidating their favorable positions in the top Asian destinations.
The main driving force behind the tremendous growth curve are still the import markets of China and Hong Kong, which currently amount to 1.8m MT worth US$ 5.2bn. Other destinations in the region such as Japan, Taiwan and South Korea show a stable development.
The top 15 Asian countries for temperate fruit currently comprise of about 10.3m MT of overall imported goods to the value of US$ 19.6bn, of which round about 43% are delivered by Intra-Asian trade and 40% by Southern Hemisphere exporters.
In addition to growth in 2019, SHAFFE said the Covid-19 pandemic shows some slow-down of import operations due to global logistic constraints for the first half of 2020.
But traders look with "modest optimism" towards the second half of the year, especially with the first signs of recovery of trade with China.
While the market experienced a drop of between 15% to 30% for some products during the acute emergency status in the months of March and April in Asian export destinations as well as at SHAFFE origins, it is now showing signs of recovery.
Many Southern Hemisphere traders have also not started their export season yet to Asia.
Nevertheless, some key elements remain challenging, including the continued limited availability of airfreight, port congestions as well as other logistic impediments.
Also, many market access negotiations for exports to Asian destinations have been on hold, given the strong focus on Covid-19 crisis management throughout the first part of the year.
On the positive side, traders welcomed many trade facilitating measures and dynamic crisis management for incoming trade throughout the entire Asian region.