World Fresh Citrus Situation
The total Brazilian citrus crop in 1998 (harvested June 1998 to about April 1999) is forecast at 16.6 million metric tons, down 19 percent from the 1997 estimate. Total fresh orange production in 1998 is forecast at 15 million tons, down 21 percent from the previous year. In Sao Paulo, the main producing state of fresh oranges, production is expected to decrease 24 percent, to 320 million 40.8 kilogram boxes. Production in other citrus producing regions is also forecast to be down. The decrease in Sao Paulo production is attributed to unfavorable weather, reduced grove care, disease related problems, and orange trees being physiologically stressed from the previous year's record harvest.
The flowering season in Sao Paulo was characterized by multiple blooms (July/August 1997 to January 1998) due to unfavorable weather. The orange harvest, which has already begun, and is expected to be extended until March/April 1999. Excess rains in June 1997 stimulated an early flowering of the "Hamlin" and "Pera Rio" varieties in July/August. Dry and hot weather from August to mid-September damaged the fruit setting resulting from the first flowering. As a result of the unfavorable weather, the mid-season "Pera Rio" variety had four blooms from August through January due to the unfavorable weather. The late season varieties ("Natal and Valencia") had average blooming and fruit setting. However, these varieties are predominantly in the off-year of the bi-annual production cycle, due to last season's large harvest.
The smaller orange production is also related to below average crop management of the groves during the past few years, due to low frozen concentrate orange juice (FCOJ) prices. Trees have been eradicated to some extent because growers are not interested in investing in their groves. The number of citrus growers has been diminishing, with inefficient ones being forced out of business. In addition, disease-related problems will also contribute in a minor extent to the expected smaller orange crop. Infected non-bearing trees which were likely to bear this season will not, due to the Citrus Chlorosis Variegated (CVC) disease. Moreover, some producers were forced to eradicate groves, due to the presence of citrus canker disease.
Less oranges are expected to be processed based on the expected smaller harvest. The amount of oranges expected to be processed in Brazil in 1998 is forecast at 9.3 million metric tons, 31 percent below the previous year's level. See orange juice feature for impact on orange juice situation.
Total citrus production in the United States in 1997/98 is forecast at a record 16.5 million metric tons, 6 percent above the previous year's output. Larger orange and lemon crops more than offset smaller grapefruit and tangerine harvests. Orange production in 1997/98 is estimated at a record 12.8 million tons, 11 percent above the previous year's output. Grapefruit production in 1997/98 is estimated at 2.38 million metric tons, down 9 percent from the previous year's record harvest.
Total U.S. citrus exports in 1997/98 are forecast at 1.15 million metric tons, 2 percent below the previous forecast and 6 percent below the previous season's shipments. Lower grapefruit exports account for the reduction in the total citrus export forecast. U.S. grapefruit exports to date (September 1997 to April 1998) have totaled 345,798 metric tons, 16 percent below last year's shipments during the same time period. U.S. grapefruit exports are down primarily due to the strong U.S. dollar and reduced demand from Japan because of a weaker economy. Japan is the largest U.S. grapefruit market, accounting for 40 to 45 percent of total U.S. exports. U.S. lemon exports to date are behind last season's pace, also due primarily to reduced sales to Japan. U.S. orange exports to date (November through April), on the other hand, have totaled 388,360 tons, 3 percent above the previous season's pace, based on a sharp increase in exports to Hong Kong.
U.S. citrus for processing in 1997/98 is forecast at a record 11.8 million metric tons, 4 percent below the previous forecast, but 4 percent above the previous year's level.
The 1997/98 citrus crop estimate is forecast at 5.1 million tons, 2 percent above the previous forecast and 20 percent above the previous year's output. Some trade sources indicate production could be even higher. Spain's citrus exports in 1997/98 are forecast at 3.2 million tons, 7 percent above the previous forecast and 9 percent above the previous year's shipments based on the larger harvests. Spain is the world's largest citrus exporter, accounting for nearly 40 percent of world exports.
Citrus production in Australia in 1998 is forecast to decrease (corresponds to 1997/98 in the tables in the statistical section) by 32 percent to 408,000 tons. Unfavorable hot and dry weather and removal of valencia trees are the reasons for the decrease in production. Australian citrus exports (mostly oranges) are expected to be down in 1998 due to reduced demand from some Asian markets. Most of Australia's fresh orange exports are destined for South East Asian markets.
The citrus production estimate for 1997/98 has been revised down by 5 percent to 5.2 million tons, but is still higher than the previous year's output. However, the forecast for the amount of oranges expected to be processed in 1997/98 has been increased from 638,000 to 878,000 tons frozen concentrate orange juice prices have improved vis-a-vis fresh orange prices. See orange juice feature.
No significant changes to other countries since last reported.