China’s reduced crop no opportunity for U.S. exporters

China’s reduced crop no opportunity for U.S. exporters

China’s apple production was down sharply this season, but U.S. apple exporters couldn’t help fill the gap.

The drop in China affected global apple supplies in the 2018-19 marketing season, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

World apple production for 2018-19 totaled 68.7 million metric tons, off 5.7 million metric tons, an 8% drop from the previous year.

The report said China’s apple production fell to its lowest level in almost a decade, dropping 25% to 31 million metric tons for 2018-19. Cold in April and heavy rain and hail in May caused heavy damage to China’s apple growing regions, according to the report.

China’s imports in 2018-19 will grow 12,000 metric tons to 75,000 metric tons; greater shipments from New Zealand and the European Union offset reduced imports from the U.S.

The U.S. faces a 50% retaliatory tariff that China imposed last year in response to U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports.

The report said U.S. apple production in 2018-19 is estimated at 5 million metric tons, about 1% lower than a 2017-18.

Reduced fruit set in Washington was one factor with the reduced crop, according to the report.

U.S. apple exports are predicted to fall nearly 25% to 760,000 metric tons, influenced by retaliatory tariffs on U.S. apples by Mexico. The 20% tariff on U.S. apples was dropped in May, but it was in effect for nearly a year. Continued uncertainty over India tariffs also affects exports. After nearly a year of delays, India imposed a retaliatory tariff of 20% in June.

The report said apple imports will rise to 160,000 metric tons on higher demand from Southern Hemisphere suppliers New Zealand and Chile.