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  • 작성자 : 관리자
  • 작성일 : 2024.03.12
  • 조회수 : 80

China is expecting a bumper harvest, but the export demand is lowered due to the shipping crisis in the Red Sea. Despite this the export volume has increased compared to last season, while export prices have declined due to different factors such as the higher shipping rates over the last quarter. Chinese suppliers are also seeing lower demand in Europe as a direct result of the shipping challenges. The German market has seen weak sales. The first South African pears were loaded with German pears being sold until those shipments arrive. Italian production has fallen dramatically in 2023 with the last batches of local fruit currently on sale. Conference pears from the Netherlands and Belgium as well as pears from South Africa are on the Italian market. Pears from Chile and Argentina will arrive in the coming weeks.

Optimism abounds in the Dutch pear market as the Netherlands is seeing quality pears being rewarded with a 10-cent difference between high-quality and lower-quality pears. The local pear stock in Greece is lower. Local exporters expect to continue until late April. Then, there may be some room for more than the usual quantities of pears on the Greek market from the Southern Hemisphere, especially Williams and Packham's Triumph.

South Africa: Pear crop is unusually early
The South African pear crop is unusually early this year: the Packham harvest is already done where usually this would be peak harvest time. By week 6, 3.37 million 12 kg cartons of pears had been exported, compared to just over two million cartons at the same time last year.

Overall pear exports are expected to be 5% higher than last year, coming to just under 19.5 million cartons (still below the 22 million cartons of 2022). Close to half South Africa's pears have been sent to Europe so far this year. Europe is a stable pear market for South Africa, not growing dramatically, and for South Africa looms larger in pear exports than apple export.

"The demand from the market is good. It's closely associated with the spill over supply from Europe's previous crop," says a pear exporter, but in the same breath he adds that getting the fruit safely through the harbour is the big challenge. Pears are shipped through other means, besides the container terminal at Cape Town: it's loaded to conventional vessels in Cape Town, or taken to the port of Port Elizabeth.

There are many markets available to Forelle pears, and by week 6 the first had gone to the Far East and Russia; the latter is also a significant market for South African Packham pears. Blush pear varieties and Forelle will probably be sent in larger numbers to China, a recent addition to the pear export portfolio. Some South African exporters have reportedly last year done fantastically well on the small volumes with which they tested those waters, while others have been disappointed due to misaligned timing. New pear plantings concentrate on Forelle pears and blush varieties like Rosemarie. No new Abate Fetel (which is only sold in Europe) is being planted.

"High temperatures have been affecting the pear crop," says a South African retailer: "Unfortunately, due to the excessive heat in the Western Cape this summer, some early pears are showing an unbelievably short shelf life after ripening."

Argentina: Seeing good market demand
The country is having a good season with solid demand for big sizes in Williams, which are scarce. Volumes are the same as last season in terms of units, but 5% to 10% less in KG due to the smaller sizes a grower and exporter noted.

A grower and exporter further noted: "Demand from all markets for Argentinian pears is good and at a high point for quality pears, which are very clean and nice this season. The paying value is 15% more for big sizes vs 2023, with the same value paid for mid to small sizes."

Chile: Smaller sized fruit due to earlier rain
Chile, is a couple of weeks away from the start of pear harvest. High temperatures and rain in October is said to cause smaller sizes of fruit. A producer in Chile noted there's a little more russet due to the wetter weather. The pear pricing has been stable over the last few years, while Chile has over the past 6-8 years seen their volume decrease a lot. It has stabilised a bit more in recent seasons. The producer notes pear production is a decent and stable business over time, but not like cherries that's growing rapidly.

Uruguay: Below average pear crop
Pear production in Uruguay has been around 13,000 tons in recent years. "This 2023/2024 harvest will be below average, due to the climate, water deficit in summer (2022), and winter (2023), with an accumulation of irregular cold an expert in Uruguay noted. "The consequence of this was lower production, the harvest date was delayed, and the fruit size was irregular. The same thing happened to the Williams Precoz produced in Artigas."

North America: Reduced volume on pear imports into North America likely
Pear harvesting and packing for shipments to North America are underway in Chile and Argentina. Early reports indicate that pear sizes, particularly for varieties like Bartlett, are smaller than anticipated. This is likely to result in reduced overall crop volume imported into the United States. The impact is not only on lower box counts, but also it is likely that smaller-sized pears will remain in local Latin American markets. (A cool early season followed by hot temperatures close to harvest has caused smaller sizing out of South America.) Harvest for several varieties is underway, including Bartlett, Comice, Anjou, Forelle and Bosc.

As for demand, there is a growing momentum and demand for new crop pears as certain domestic varieties wind down for the year. Also influencing pear movement is the fact that the global demand for organic pears is increasing, which is leading to an increase in organic production. As for pricing, it's anticipated that prices this year will be higher compared to last year due to shorter supply.

China: Bumper harvest expected, export demand lowered due to shipping crisis
Thanks to good weather, the yield and quality of Chinese pears will increase in the 2023/24 season. With the bumper harvest and the start of the production season, the demand from overseas market has stabilized. Export volume has increased compared with the last season, and export prices have declined due to different factors.

One of the reasons for the lower export price is that the high shipping freight rates and unstable shipping schedules in the last quarter pushed up the price. After shipping cost returned to the normal level, the price naturally fell. Secondly, due to the bumper harvest this year, the pear inventory is large and the market competition is fierce, forcing merchants to reduce prices.

In addition, the recent surge in sea freight rates has affected export prices. Demand in overseas markets is relatively strong. However, since the Red Sea shipping crisis, the European market demand has declined. At present, the freight for each container to Europe has increased from more than one thousand US dollars to five to six thousand US dollars, an increase of four times. It is worth noting that the price of this route has begun to stabilize and gradually decrease recently.

Furthermore, sea freight to North America and Australia is also rising. One of the reasons is that after the sharp rise in freight rates during the pandemic, it has not yet dropped to the previous normal level. The other reason is that the number of ships that need to pass through the Cape of Good Hope has increased significantly, and the number of containers is insufficient, which has pushed up the costs.

In terms of domestic sales, pear prices declined after December, and the price reduction occurred earlier than in the past. When the season started, the purchase price of pears was relatively high. In addition, the production of many fruits is high this year, and consumers have many choices, making sales relatively slow. As the season develops, pear stocks remain large and market consumption is weak, which is the main reason for the early decline in pear prices.

Germany: Weak sales
The presence of Italian products was clearly diminishing; Abate Fetel and Santa Maria were slowly disappearing from the market. The other European products also had a complementary character at best: Dutch, Belgian and domestic offerings only played a supplementary role.

Meanwhile, the first South African imports were loaded. "We will continue to trade German pears in full until week 7, and from week 8, food retailers will gradually switch to South African goods of the Williams, Rosemarie and Cheeky varieties. In week 9-10, the Celina variety, which has become increasingly important in recent years, is also expected to be added. However, the flagship of the South African pear sector remains the Forelle variety, which we can offer from CA storage until the start of the new European harvest," says one importer.

Italy: production has fallen dramatically in 2023
The last batches of Italian product are currently on sale, along with many more Conference pears from the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as pears from South Africa. A major trader in northern Italy says pears from Chile and Argentina will arrive in the coming weeks. Italian production has fallen by 75 per cent, according to the trader. The variety that has suffered the most is the Abate, with prices sometimes over €5/kg for the few high quality lots. Prices in supermarkets have always been very high for the Italian product: for example, Abate pears have always been sold for more than € 4/kg. With such high prices, foreign pears have followed suit.

According to the Permanent Observatory of Consumer Panel Services GfK, the number of Italian households that buy pears has increased from 52% to 53% during the 12 months ending December 2023.

Netherlands: 10-cent difference between high-quality and lower-quality pears
Optimism abounds in the Dutch pear market. "With Conference pears, we're noticing that we're already later in the season. The quality of the batches varies greatly, and the rejection rate is slightly higher than in previous years. However, the price level ranging between 85 and 95 cents can still be considered good. There's about a ten-cent difference between good and lesser-quality pears. It's commendable that this extra quality is being rewarded with higher prices, and even for slightly inferior products, the price remains satisfactory. However, I do notice in the market that growers are expecting an even higher price level, and I'm not sure if that's entirely justified. Ultimately, there should be some room for improvement for good quality pears in the long term, but at the moment, I believe one should also be content with the current price level," stated a participant in the Dutch pear market.

"The season for Comice pears is now winding down. The market for Lukassen pears experienced a downturn, but that was because prices were exceptionally high. Hopefully, trade will pick up again after this correction."

Little dip in Belgian pear prices, but overwhelming demand for organic
"In Belgian pears there has been a little dip this week," says a trader. "It has been going very well for a long time and still we certainly can't complain, but now that some overseas pears are entering the market, we notice that prices are struggling a little bit for a while. However, I don't expect it to last longer than 1 or 2 weeks. After all, it is also a bit standard for the time of year. At the end of February, more comes on the market and everyone is a bit wait-and-see. We saw it last year too and then we left anyway nicely in the months until the end of the season."

"In addition, the demand for organic pears is overwhelming," adds another. "We too have pretty much run out of organic pears. We still have some sorted, but that will be gone tomorrow. In the Netherlands, I hear prices of up to €2.60 off-lead. That is actually bizarre, but some people pay for it. As a result, Argentina, Chile and South Africa will be back in the picture this year. Last year they were not, but this season they will benefit with the trend."

Greece: Lower stock, smooth sales
It was expected that the demand for Greek pears would start rising after New Year's. This did come true, but not to the expected extent. However, due to higher demand and lower volumes in general, compared to last year's numbers, the current stock for Greek pears is lower than last season. Greek exporters expect the export sales to continue smoothly until the end of the campaign, which is estimated until late April. Then, there may be some room for more than the usual quantities of pears from the Southern Hemisphere, especially Williams and Packham's Triumph.

Spain: High prices due to Italian demand for Spanish pears make marketing difficult in the domestic market
The weather, due to high temperatures and water shortage problems, has penalized pome fruit this year with a "significant" lack of size, recalls a Spanish operator. "In pears the campaign has been much better than in apples, because there has not been a large volume but there has been a great international demand, especially from countries like Italy that have bought fruit, in the harvesting campaign and afterwards, at quite reasonable prices, and that dynamic still continues."

"They started buying all types of pears: Red Bartlett, Williams, Abate Fetel and Conference, although during the winter they have been buying Conference in larger quantities, which is the most cultivated. Today, in fact, there is only Conference left and Italy continues to buy it at prices that still remain high, which has made sales difficult at the national level," he points out.

Next week's topic: Mandarins

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