China’s Fruit Market Resilient but Importers Cautious

6 February 2023

China has almost fully opened again to people movement there is cautious optimism for Australian grape exports for the upcoming season. However, whilst people are now frequenting stores, consumers are generally looking for value because of economic uncertainty. Traders this week said Shanghai Huizhan market was returning to more normal levels of business and, as Chile’s cherry volumes taper down, grapes will take more prominence.

 It has been noticeable that so far this season volumes of grapes passing through China’s fruit wholesale markets seem to be down on previous years. This could be because early season supply has been weather affected in South Africa. We also think early season volumes of grapes are down from Peru, maybe partly because of logistics challenges there. We are also told that because of uncertainty in China market demand importers have been baulking at paying the requested Minimum Guarantee of FOB USD25-30 per 7.3 Kg box asked by suppliers from Peru for early season new variety grapes, such as Sweet Globe. Importers also have to meet some USD8500 per container shipping costs. Responding to market demand, it is reported in the Chinese fruit press that last year Green seedless varieties last year made up 42% of Peruvian grape exports followed by seedless red grapes (28%), Red Globe (25%) and black seedless (3%).

This season, Australian grapes are late to arrive in China, but traders in Huizhan Market, Shanghai are expecting some airfreighted Long Crimson in the week beginning 6 February. Importers say that they have lost money on Australian Ralli in recent years, partly because of the high airfreight costs, and this probably explains the lack of Australian airfreighted grapes so far this season.

Picture: Peruvian Sweet Globe Grapes on display at Jiangnan Market, Guangzhou, January 2023

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