Opinion

Export Performance of Chile’s Processed Fruits During Jan-24 and Feb-24

Fresh Plum
Fresh Grape
Published Apr 24, 2024
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Chile's fruit exports totaled 3.2 mmt in 2023, valued at USD 8.021 billion FOB. Despite a 6.2% decrease in volume, there was a 5.8% increase in sales value compared to the previous year. Notably, volume and value increased by 5.8% and 6.3%, respectively, from Jan-24 to Feb-24 compared to the same period in 2023. In addition, SUBREI highlighted a 10% rise in Chile's fresh fruit exports to USD 3.613 billion in Q1-24, driven by cherry, blueberry, plum, and grape shipments. Among the 3.51 thousand non-traditional products exported, 55% experienced growth, including cherries, blueberries, and potassium nitrates. O'Higgins led exports, followed by Los Lagos, Metropolitan, Maule, and Antofagasta Regions. Asia accounted for 51.9% of exports, with China leading, followed by North America, Latin America, and Europe. China was the primary destination, with USD 1.834 billion in shipments, mainly fresh cherries. Other significant destinations included the US, EU, Mercosur, Pacific Alliance, and Canada.

Dynamics of Chilean Fruit Exports

The Chilean fruit export landscape has experienced significant dynamics, characterized by challenges and opportunities. In 2023, despite a 6.2% decrease in volume, exports totaled 3.2 million metric tons (mmt) valued at USD 8.021 billion FOB. From Jan-24 to Feb-24, there was a 5.8% increase in volume and value compared to the same period in 2023. Q1-24 saw fresh fruit exports surge by 10%, led by cherry, blueberry, plum, and grape shipments. However, the citrus sector faces a projected decline in 2024 due to water restrictions. Despite challenges, the industry remains proactive in addressing climate change and prioritizing sustainability.

Chilean Fruit Export Trends: 2023 Overview and Q1-24 Insights

In 2023, Chile exported a total of 3.2 million metric tons (mmt) of fruit, amounting to USD 8.021 billion Free on Board (FOB). The exported volume decreased by 6.2% year-on-year (YoY), while the sales value increased by 5.8% YoY. Overall, traded volumes decreased during this period while sales values mostly increased. From Jan-24 to Feb-24, volume and values increased by 5.8% and 6.3% YoY, respectively, compared to the same period in 2023.

Furthermore, the Monthly Trade Report by the Undersecretary of International Economic Relations of Chile (SUBREI) revealed that in Q1-24, Chile's fresh fruit exports reached USD 3.613 billion, a 10% increase from 2023, led by cherry, blueberry, plum, and grape shipments. Among the 3.51 thousand non-traditional products exported, 55% experienced growth, notably cherries, blueberries, and potassium nitrates. O'Higgins led exports, followed by Los Lagos, Metropolitan, Maule, and Antofagasta Regions. Asia received 51.9% of exports, led by China, followed by North America, Latin America, and Europe. China dominated with USD 1.834 billion in shipments, mainly fresh cherries. Other key destinations included the United States (US), the European Union (EU), the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), Pacific Alliance, and Canada.

Table 1. Comparative Trends of Exported Goods from 2022 to 2023.

Fresh Fruits

From Jan-24 to Feb-24, the exported volume increased by 6.5%, and the traded values increased by 7.0% from the corresponding period in 2023. Particularly, China was the destination for almost 60.73% of the exported fresh fruit, followed by the US with a 25.78% share. Cherries were the main product exported to China, with a volume of 310.78 thousand tons, resulting in a value of USD 1.80 billion FOB.

However, the Chilean Fruit Citrus Committee projects that citrus exports for the 2024 season will reach 383 thousand metric tons (mt), reflecting a 4% decline from 2023. Clementines and mandarins are forecasted to decrease by 35% and 9% YoY, respectively, while orange exports are anticipated to drop by 2% YoY. Conversely, lemon exports are forecasted to increase by 33% YoY.

This decrease is primarily due to water restrictions affecting clementine production in the Coquimbo region, where 70% of Chile's clementine cultivation is concentrated. Mandarins are projected to reach 160 thousand mt, while orange exports are estimated at 93 thousand mt, maintaining a similar level to the previous season. Lemon exports are expected to rise to 90 thousand mt. Additionally, the President of the Citrus Committee emphasized the industry's adaptation to climate change and its strategy to address new production challenges, prioritizing sustainability.

Dried Fruits

The exported volume of dried fruits increased by 17.7% YoY, and the traded values increased by 10.1% YoY in Jan-24 and Feb-24, compared to the same period in 2023. China was the destination for 22.27% of the exported dried fruit, followed by the US with 13.62%. Prunes were the main dried product exported to China, with a volume of 2.79 thousand tons, resulting in a value of USD 7.50 million (FOB), and the second product was dried grapes, with a volume of 4.49 thousand tons, resulting in USD 1.46 million (FOB).

Frozen Fruits

In Jan-24 and Feb-24, the exported volume of frozen fruits increased by 19.5% YoY, and the traded value increased by 19.9% YoY. The US remained the main destination with 51.83% of the exported frozen fruit, followed by Australia with 11.68%. The main frozen product exported to the US was strawberries, with a volume of 5.08 thousand mt, resulting in a value of USD 11.96 million (FOB), and the second product was blueberries, with a volume of 4.04 thousand mt, resulting in USD 14.74 million (FOB).

Canned

The exported volume of canned fruit increased by 3.1%, and the traded values increased by 2.3% in Jan-24 and Feb-24, compared to the same period in 2023. The US was the destination for 39.08% of the canned fruit exported, followed by Mexico with a 29.03% share.

Nuts

In Jan-24 and Feb-24, the volume of exported nuts decreased by 43.6% YoY, and the traded values also decreased by 41.2% YoY. India remained the main destination with 24.17% of the exported nuts, followed by Germany with 15.58%.

In addition, on March 15, an agreement was signed in Santiago, Chile, enabling Chilean almonds to enter the Chinese market. Representatives from both countries, including the Chilean President and Minister of Agriculture, attended the ceremony. The agreement complements previous pacts and aims to expand Chile's exports to China, boosting its foreign trade and agricultural sectors. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Chile's almond production for 2023/24 was estimated at 11.40 thousand mt, with exports forecasted at 8.30 thousand mt.

Oils

In Jan-24 and Feb-24, while the volume of exported oils witnessed a slight decline of 6.7% YoY, the traded values surged by 32.4% YoY compared to the same period in 2023. Brazil emerged as the primary destination, accounting for a significant 69.28% of the exported oils, followed closely by the US with a share of 21.47%.

In 2023, Chilean oil exports experienced a remarkable surge, reaching nearly USD 120 million, indicating a staggering growth of over 60% YoY. These figures were reported by the General Directorate of Export Promotion of the Foreign Ministry of Chile (ProChile) and Customs. ProChile's International Director underscored that during Jan-24 and Feb-24, Chile exported close to USD 12 million worth of olive oil, marking a substantial 62% YoY increase. Brazil retained its dominance as the leading market, with exports totaling USD 8.7 million, reflecting a noteworthy 104% YoY surge from 2023. Following closely, the US recorded USD 2.1 million in exports, representing a remarkable 118% YoY increase. Notably, within Asia, Japan emerged as a significant buyer, particularly in the ultra-premium segment of extra virgin olive oil.

Anticipated Export Trends and Market Opportunities for Chilean Processed Fruits in Q2-24

Looking ahead to Q2-24, Tridge anticipates that this positive export trend will continue, particularly for processed fruits like dried and frozen fruits, driven by sustained demand in key markets like the US and China. Chilean suppliers should also pay attention to emerging markets for potential expansion opportunities, such as Argentina, Ecuador, and Russia.

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