10 March 2022

A visit by our team to Guangzhou, Shanghai and Jiaxing fruit wholesale markets last week has shown how dramatically the stonefruit market changes after Chinese New Year (CNY).

Shanghai Huizhan Fruit Wholesale Market Floor, 26 February 2022
Shanghai Huizhan Fruit Wholesale Market Floor, 26 February 2022

Normally Chilean cherries quickly lose prominence in the China market after CNY. However, this year, because of shipping delays, there is still a lot of late arriving cherries wholesaling at low prices. Other fruit, noticeable in the markets, is a significant supply of Chilean nectarines and Chilean and Australian sugar plums. This year Australian nectarine volumes have particularly slowed after CNY and Chilean nectarines are especially prominent.

Pictures: Stacks of Australian (left) and Chilean Nectarine boxes, Shanghai Huizhan Market, 26 Feb

Traders we spoke to said they have been happy with the quality of Australian nectarines and peaches this year but that the market was generally slow because consumers are buying cheaper fruit because of uncertain economic times. This has meant importers are not taking risks with purchases and also looking to buy on more favourable payment terms. Currently Australian nectarines are wholesaling at RMB 200-220 (AUD 44-49)/10kg and Chilean RMB 100-140(AUD 22-31)/9Kg. Australian and Chilean nectarines are recently retailing at around RMB 15-20(AUD 3.40-4.50)/500Gr and offering good margins for wholesalers and retailers. The higher margins on offer from Chilean fruit have meant they are attractive to regular fruit shiops and the wet market.

Pictures: Australian stonefruit (left) and (Middle) (RMB 18.90/500gr) in supermarkets and Chilean Nectarines in Wet Market (RMB 13 and RMB 20/500gr), Guangzhou on 25 February

Both Australian and Chilean Sugar plums really attract strong support in all markets after CNY, being the highest priced fruit on display in the markets in late February/Early March. These plums are probably the number one premium fruit in Chinese markets after Chinese New Year. Consumers in wealthy cities in Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces such as Hangzhou, Wenzhou and Nanjing particularly buy this fruit. Early season air freighted sugar plums and cherry plums from Australia or Chile attract wholesale prices of RMB500-600 (AUD 110-133)/9Kg, or even higher when supply is limited, with Chilean fruit dropping to RMB300 from late February when sea freight volume arrives. We believe that most imported nectarines and plums are sold at individual fruit stores that sell one or two boxes of the fruit per day.

Pictures: Left. Chile Cherry plums on display Jiaxing Market, 27 February. Right: Australian sugar plums on display at fruit store in Nanjing, RMB 65 (AUD 14)500 Gr.

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