December 1998 Issue
Press Release Summary
WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 1998--U.S. horticultural product exports to all countries in September totaled $783 million, down 16 percent from the same month a year earlier. Ten out of 15 categories registered decreases. Categories with the most significant decreases in September were tree nuts (down $106.6 million or 55 percent) and miscellaneous products (down $26.9 million or 13 percent). The categories with the most significant increases were frozen vegetables (up $5.8 million or 17 percent) and fruit and vegetable juices (up $5.6 million or 11 percent). The total value of fiscal year (FY) 1998 (October-September) U.S. horticultural exports was $10.3 billion--3 percent below FY 1997.
Pear production in selected Northern Hemisphere countries in 1998/99 is forecast at 11.4 million metric tons, up 8 percent from 1997/98. Increased output in China and Italy will more than offset reduced harvests for some other leading producers, such as the United States. Northern Hemisphere pear exports in 1998/99 are forecast at 920,580 metric tons, practically unchanged from the previous season's shipments. U.S. pear exports in 1998/99 are forecast at 155,000 tons, 6 percent below the record 1997/98 shipments. Reduced production in the states of Washington, California, and Oregon (which are the major U.S. pear exporters), improved production prospects in some European Union (EU) countries, and the economic problems facing Asia will likely hamper U.S. pear exports in 1998/99.
Hazelnut production (in-shell equivalent) in four selected countries in 1998/99 is forecast to increase 23 percent to 752,970 metric tons. Production increases in Turkey (the world's largest producer) and Italy more than offset decreases in Spain and the United States. Total exports from selected countries in 1998/99 are forecast to increase 9 percent to 448,000 tons. Expanded exports from Turkey and Italy are expected to more than offset reduced shipments from the United States and Spain. U.S. hazelnut exports in 1998/99 are forecast at 14,000 tons, 45 percent below the previous year's shipments, based on the sharply lower domestic harvest.
The 1998/99 raisin/sultana pack in the major commercial producing countries of the Northern Hemisphere is forecast at 564,000 tons (packed-weight basis), off 16 percent from 1997/98. Significant pack increases in Turkey, Greece, and Mexico will likely be offset by a 35-percent decrease in U.S. raisin output from last season's record crop. Northern Hemisphere exports are forecast to decrease by less than 1 percent in 1998/99 based on lower exports from the United States. Exports are expected to increase from all selected Northern Hemisphere countries except the United States. U.S. raisin exports in 1997/98 increased by 2 percent. Major U.S. markets include the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Germany, and growing markets like Brazil and the Philippines. U.S. raisin exports in 1998/99 are forecast to decrease 17 percent, based on smaller exportable supplies.
Kiwifruit New Zealand (KNZ) is likely to be the first of New Zealand's statutory producer boards to transform itself into a grower-owned private company, according to a recent report from the U.S. Agricultural Attache in Wellington. Formerly known as the Kiwifruit Marketing Board, KNZ has undergone significant change over the past two years as it implemented recommendations made in the 1995 Industry Review. Full corporatization of KNZ will require an amendment to the Primary Products Marketing Act, an action the KNZ hopes to have completed by April 1, 1999. Last year, New Zealand was the world's largest kiwifruit producer and exporter, accounting for 28 percent of total world production and 38 percent of world exports.
The U.S. Apple Association's Board of Trustees endorsed on November 18 a proposal to proceed with preparing an antidumping case against foreign suppliers of low-cost apple juice concentrate. The association is now in the process of forming the "Coalition for Fair Apple-Juice Concentrate Trade," which will fund and direct the process of developing and filing the antidumping petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce. According to Census Bureau data, imports of apple juice concentrate from China totaled 29 million gallons for the period January-September 1998, 100 percent more than the same period last year. On the other hand, import prices for Chinese product have decreased from an average of $1.40 per gallon in 1997 to 67 cents per gallon in 1998. Other countries, such as Hungary, Chile, and Argentina, have lowered their prices, presumably in an effort to maintain their share of the American market against lower-priced competition.
The Agricultural Trade Office in Sao Paulo has increased its Brazilian orange juice production forecast for 1998/99 by 15 percent to 1.07 million metric tons (65 degrees brix), based on the higher volume of oranges delivered for processing in Sao Paulo than earlier expected. The 1998/99 forecast for oranges for processing in the state of Sao Paulo has been increased from 225 to 255 million 40.8-kilo boxes. The amount of oranges for fresh consumption in Sao Paulo has been reduced, due to the larger volume of fruit delivered for processing. Brazil's orange juice export forecast for 1998/99 has been increased by 13 percent to 1.18 million metric tons, based on the larger orange juice production.