Citrus imports to U.S. spiked in Q3, as avocados saw big decline

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Citrus imports to U.S. spiked in Q3, as avocados saw big decline

Citrus imports to the U.S. grew significantly during the third quarter of the year while volumes of other key fruits during the period like avocados and bananas saw declines, recently released USDA data shows.

Total imports of fresh citrus between June and September this year rose by 20 percent year-on-year to $682 million, figures from the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service show.

By far the biggest increase in the category came from mandarins with imports soaring by 55 percent to $225 million. The dramatic increase was driven equally by Chile and Peru, both of which have seen strong growth in soft citrus volumes over recent years. South Africa and Uruguay also increased their shipments.

Limes and oranges both rose by 10 percent to $134 million and $123 million, respectively, while lemons saw a 3 percent decline to $95 million. Limes came almost entirely from Mexico, while the increase in oranges was driven by South Africa and partially offset by a decline from Chile.

Meanwhile, avocado imports saw a huge decline of 26 percent to $531 million during the quarter. 

This decline was driven both by Mexico, whose volumes fell by 24 percent to $424 million, and Peru, whose shipments fell by 22 percent to $102 million.

Imports from Chile, which in the third quarter last year were $20 million, fell to just $1 million. Colombia, meanwhile, managed to roughly double its shipments year-on-year to $4 million.

Banana imports fell by 7 percent to $457 million, driven by Guatemala's volumes falling by 9 percent to $220 million. Costa Rica and Ecuador saw declines of 11 percent each to $91 million and $43 million, while Honduras saw a 15 percent increase to $41 million.

Blueberry imports remained stable at $183 million, with a sharp increase from Peru offset by an equally sharp decrease from Canada.

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