NORTHERN HEMISPHERE FRESH PEAR SITUATION
Northern Hemisphere pear supplies to decrease in 1997/98
Pear production in selected countries of the Northern hemisphere in 1997/98 is forecast at 3.76 million metric tons, down 11 percent from the 1996/97 output. The downturn mainly reflects a sharp reduction in European Union (EU) pear production, especially in Italy. The significant drop on Italy's pear production is the result of severe frost during the spring. All producing regions were affected by the frost, especially the region of Emilia-Romagna in Northern Italy, which accounts for 70 percent of total Italian pear production. Although to a lesser degree, the frost also adversely affected crops in Spain and France, the EU's second and third largest pear producing countries, respectively. On the other hand, pear production in the United States in 1997/98 is forecast to increase 24 percent to 925,105 tons.
Northern Hemisphere pear exports are expected to decrease in 1997/98
Northern Hemisphere pear exports in 1997/98 are forecast at 688,180 tons, down 11 percent from the previous season's shipments, based on expected reductions in the EU pear exports. U.S. pear exports in 1997/98, on the other hand, are forecast at a record 145,000 tons. The EU and the United States combined normally account for more than 90 percent of Northern Hemisphere pear exports. Intra-EU trade accounts for most of the EU pear exports. U.S. principal pear customers are Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and Taiwan, in that order.
U.S. pear production to reach near record levels in 1997/98
U.S. pear production in 1997/98 is forecast at 925,105 tons, 24 percent above last season's output but 3 percent below the 1994/95 record of 949,052 tons. An excellent spring and early summer weather in the three major U.S. producing states (Washington, California, and Oregon) has boosted U.S. production of good quality fruit in 1997/98. Bartlett pear production in these states in 1997/98 is forecast at 503,500 tons, up 27 percent from 1996/97. Washington, California, and Oregon account for more than 95 percent of total U.S. pear production.
Record U.S. pear exports forecast in 1997/98
U.S. pear exports in 1997/98 are forecast at a record 145,000 tons, 21 percent above last season's shipments and slightly more than the record 143,313 tons shipped in 1995/96. Ample supplies of good quality fruit at more competitive prices is boosting U.S. pear export prospects in 1997/98. Strong demand is expected to continue in 1997/98 from major U.S. customers, such as Canada, Mexico, and Brazil. Increased sales are also forecast to some EU countries, such as Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom. From July to September 1997 (MY 1997/98), pear exports to the EU totaled 385 tons, more than 200 percent above shipments the same period in 1996.
U.S. pear exports in 1996/97 totaled 119,497 tons, 17 percent below 1995/96's shipments. Decreased production in the states of Washington and Oregon, major U.S. pear exporters, combined with improved domestic prices for processing pears, hampered overall U.S. pear exports in 1996/97. However, the value of U.S. pear exports in 1996/97 decreased at a lower rate (10 percent). Sales to Canada, the largest U.S. market, were valued at $31.7 million
in 1996/97, practically unchanged from the 1995/96 value. Exports to Mexico, the second largest market, expanded from $14.4 million in 1995/96 to $15.2 million in 1996/97. The Mexican economy has been recovering from the financial crisis it suffered in 1995 and early 1996 and the consumer purchasing power has been stronger. However, pear sales to Brazil and Taiwan, the third and fourth largest U.S. markets, decreased in 1996/97. Exports to Brazil in 1996/97 were valued at $8.0 million compared to $9.5 million in 1995/96. U.S. pear shipments to Taiwan in 1996/97 totaled 5,066 tons valued at $3.3 million, down more than 50 percent, respectively.
It is too early to make a reliable forecast for the Southern Hemisphere countries for the 1997/98 season (harvest in 1998). Forecasts will be available in the March 1998 issue of World Horticultural Trade & U.S. Export Opportunities.
(For further information on
production and trade, contact Samuel Rosa at 202-720-6086. For
information on marketing, contact James Carlson at 202-720-7931)