Northern Hemisphere Apple Situation and Outlook
|Apple production in 1999/2000 by the leading producing countries in the Northern Hemisphere is forecast at a record 43.2 million tons. Bumper apple crops are expected in some major Northern Hemisphere producing countries, such as China, Italy, and France. On the other hand, apple production in the United States in 1999/2000 is forecast at 4.8 million tons, down 7 percent from the previous seasons output. Northern Hemisphere apple exports in 1999/2000 are forecast to increase 6 percent to 3.3 million tons, reflecting larger exportable supplies from European Union countries. U.S. apple exports are forecast to decrease 4 percent in 1999/2000. A smaller crop in Washington state, higher U.S. prices, and anticipated more competition from European countries, will likely slow U.S. apple exports in 1999/2000. Washington state is the major apple exporting state, accounting for about 85 percent of total U.S. annual apple shipments.|
Northern Hemisphere apple production forecast at a record in 1999/2000
Total apple production in selected Northern Hemisphere countries in 1999/2000 is forecast to reach a record 43.2 million metric tons, up 3 percent from the previous years bumper output. Record apple crops are expected in some major Northern Hemisphere producing countries, such as China, Italy, and France. Moreover, the total European Union (EU) apple crop in 1999/2000 is forecast at 9.1 million tons, the largest ever. Italy, accounting for a quarter of the total EU 1999/2000 apple production forecast, has become the largest EU producer, surpassing France for the second consecutive year. Italian apple production has become more and more concentrated in the Trentino-Alto region, which now produces nearly 60 percent of the Italian apple crop. Red and Golden Delicious varieties account for more than 60 percent of total Italian apple production.
Chinas apple crop in 1999/2000 is forecast at a record 20.8 million tons. China has become a major producer of deciduous fruits in recent years. Economic liberalization policies, high domestic prices during the1980's and early 1990's, and the lack of reliable information on the world supply-demand situation, prompted a wide campaign to replace some production of traditional crops with massive planting of deciduous fruit trees. Apples are the main fruit produced, accounting for 35 percent of an estimated 55 million tons of deciduous fruit output in 1999/2000. Moreover, Chinese apple production has increased more than 700 percent in the last 20 years and now accounts for more than 30 percent of world apple production. For example, in 1998/99 China produced about 19 million tons of apples, compared to only 200,000 tons in 1978/79. However, this trend will likely change as prevailing low prices is slowing planting of new trees.
On the other hand, U.S. apple production in 1999/2000 is forecast at 4.8 million tons, 7 percent below the copious 1998/99 crop, which was the second largest on record. Lower production is expected in much of the U.S. Western states (except California), which will likely offset increased production in the Central and Eastern region. Apple production in Washington state, the largest U.S. apple producer, is forecast at 2.4 million tons, down almost 20 percent from last seasons record crop of 2.9 million tons. The smaller 1999/2000 Washington state apple crop, combined with ample supplies of good quality fruit are putting upward pressure on U.S. apple prices from the very lows registered during the 1998/99 season. The record 1998/99 Washington state apple crop, inadequate supplies of good quality fruit, and decreased domestic demand for processing apples, depleted U.S. apple prices in the 1998/99 season. Many growers left apples on the trees because the cost of picking them was higher than the selling price. The situation severely affected many smaller apple growers and some even had to go out of business. In 1999/2000, Washington state will likely account for about half of the U.S. total apple crop, compared to more than a 55 percent share in 1998/99.
Northern Hemisphere apple exports are also forecast to increase in 1999/2000
Apple exports from selected countries in the Northern Hemisphere in 1999/2000 are forecast at 3.3 million tons, up 6 percent from last seasons shipments. Larger exportable supplies in the EU, mainly in France, will more than offset decreased export prospects from the United Sates. French apple exports in 1999/2000 are forecast at 800,000 tons, up 27 percent from shipments last season. A larger apple crop and good quality fruit, combined with anticipated more competitive prices are expected to boost Frances apple exports this season. France, Italy, and the United States account for about 60 percent of Northern Hemisphere countries apple exports.
U.S. apple exports in 1999/2000 are forecast to decrease 4 percent to 640,000 tons. A lower apple crop in Washington state, anticipated higher prices, and increased competition from the EUs bumper crop will likely slow U.S. apple shipments in 1999/2000. However, potential new market opportunities may help U.S. apple exports this season. Recently, India liberalized its restrictions on many agricultural products including fresh fruits, such as apples. The Government of Yemen has confirmed its intention to lift its import ban on apples, including those from the United States, by the end of 1999. On July 30, 1999, Japan announced the decision to immediately lift its phytosanitary ban on five new varieties of U.S. apples, including Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, Jonagold, and Braeburn.
U.S. apple exports posted strong recovery in 1998/99
U.S. apple exports bounced back in marketing year 1998/99 to register the second largest volume total on record. After falling sharply in 1997/98, due in part to the Asian financial crisis, U.S. exports in 1998/99 totaled 668,605 tons, valued at $380 million, up 17 percent in volume and 10 percent in value from the previous year. A larger Washington state apple crop, some stabilization of the economies of certain key importing countries, and lower export prices, boosted shipments, mainly from the Pacific Northwest. Sales to Mexico, the industrys top foreign market, were the second largest on record with an increase of 90 percent to 119,528 tons, valued at $66 million. While shipments to Taiwan, the second largest market, remained unchanged at 113,000 tons, exports to other key Asian destinations posted gains, notably the Philippines (up 24 percent), Malaysia (up 11 percent), and Singapore (up 61 percent). Lower prices also spurred exports to Latin America and the Middle East. On the downside, exports to Canada, the third ranked destination, fell 5 percent to 92,202 tons, due mainly to a larger crop in that country.
It is too early to make a reliable forecast for the Southern Hemisphere countries for the 1999/2000 season (harvest in 2000). Forecasts will be available in the March 2000 issue of World Horticultural Trade & U.S. Export Opportunities.
(The FAS Attache Report search engine contains reports on the Deciduous Fruit industries for more than 20 countries, including China, Italy, and France. For information on production and trade, contact Samuel Rosa at 202 720-6086. For information on marketing contact Sonia Jimenez at 202-690-6057)