U.S. Horticultural Exports for August Down 3 Percent
From a Year Earlier
August 1998 Issue
WASHINGTON, August 3, 1998--U.S. exports of horticultural products to all countries in May totaled $893 million, down 3 percent from the same month a year earlier. Nine out of 15 categories registered decreases. Categories with the most significant decreases in May were fresh non-citrus fruit (down $56.6 million or 39 percent), fruit and vegetable juices (down $13.3 million or 19 percent), and canned vegetables (down $10.7 million or 15 percent).
The categories with the most significant increases were tree nuts (up $22.2 million or 36 percent), fresh vegetables (up $17.0 million or 16 percent), and wine (up $12.7 million or 35 percent). For fiscal year (FY) 1998 to date (October-May), the total value of U.S. horticultural exports was $6.96 billion--1.5 percent below FY 1997 during the same time period.
From October 1997 to May 1998, 4 of the top 10 U.S. markets showed increases. Canada registered the largest increase for the first seven months of FY 1998 (up $171.3 million or 9 percent over the same time period a year ago), followed by Mexico (up $52.8 million or 18 percent), and Russia ($29.2 million or 68 percent). Fresh vegetables and miscellaneous products accounted for about two thirds of the increase in U.S. horticultural exports to Canada.
Exports to Mexico are increasing as that country continues to recover from the 1994 peso devaluation crisis. The largest decrease for the top ten markets was for Japan (down $143.9 million or 11 percent), due to the strong U.S. dollar and a weaker Japanese economy. Reduced essential oil and fresh citrus exports accounted for the bulk of the decrease to Japan. Exports to Korea were down $76.7 million or 39 percent, due to the currency devaluation crisis.
Selected country raisin and sultana exports in 1997/98 are forecast to rise to about 407,000 metric tons, 2 percent above the previous year's shipments. Increases in exports from Turkey, Greece, Mexico, and the United States will likely more than offset lower shipments from South Africa, Chile, and Australia. South Africa's raisin exports in 1997/98 are forecast to decrease by 31 percent, based on a significantly smaller raisin pack. Chile's exports in 1997/98 are forecast to fall 19 percent, also based on a smaller raisin pack. Greece's 1997/98 raisin exports, on the other hand, are forecast to increase 28 percent. U.S. exports, in 1997/98 are forecast to rise 2 percent based on higher than expected exports to date. Japan and the United Kingdom are the top two U.S. markets. U.S. ending stocks for 1997/98 are forecast to increase sharply based on the larger raisin production.