SOURCE / INSIGHT
Imported cherry prices drop following oversupply
Published: Jan 11, 2021 07:22 PM

Cherry Photo: Xinhua

Imported cherry prices have sunk 20 percent resulting from an oversupply as exporters eye a rebound in Chinese consumption amid the COVID-19, industry insider said.

On Twitter-like Chinese social media Sina-Weibo the hashtag "imported cherries at half price" was viewed 780 million times attracting 40,000 posts on Monday as netizens were amazed at the sudden drop of the typically pricy imported fruit.

A Shanghai based fruit importer surnamed Pan told the Global Times that the price for imported cherries had dropped by 20 percent compared with the same time last year.

A main reason for the plunge is the large output in source countries, traders said.

Chile, a major exporter of cherries, saw a bumper harvest in the 2020-2021 season with the expected export volume increasing by 30 percent, and about 500,000 tons of cherries will arrive in the Chinese market, according to the Chilean Embassy in China.

"As China is the only market to have recovered from the coronavirus. Seeing China's rebound in consumption, major exporters have all shipped to China which has helped to lower the price," Pan said.

Another driver is retailers choosing to lower prices so as to recover lost sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, an employee from South China's Guangzhou-based Yiguoxuan fruit trading company, who surnamed Yu, told the Global Times on Monday.

The average price on major e-commerce fresh food platforms has dropped to less than 80 yuan ($12) per kilo in the first weeks of January from 120 yuan per kilo, down 34 percent, according to media reports.

"In previous years, retailers would raise their prices ahead of the holiday season. This year, because of the epidemic, many have lower the price to boost sales," Yu said, adding that the coronavirus tested on the packaging of imported cold chain foods has meant many consumers are hesitant about buying imported fruits.

According to the forecast of the Chilean Cherry Association, 90 percent of Chilean cherries harvested in the 2020-2021 season will be sold to the Chinese market.

In 2019-2020 season Chilean exports were over 150 times Australia's and pricing was lower, according to data from Australian Trade and Investment Commission.

Australia exported 1,487 tons of cherries to China in 2019. This represents a drop of 7 percent year-on-year from the 2018 debut season. 

The share of Australian cherries in Chinese market, however, has dropped due to the inferior quality of the product given the reserved seasonality, several fruit traders told the Global Times.

"We are not importing Australian cherries for the time being. They are currently out of season." Yu said.

"Chilean cherries have the largest share in Chinese market, with better quality and lower price. The taste and quality of Australian cherries is not as good as it once was," Pan said.


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