“They thought they would do better by exporting more product to Europe, considering the currency, but it became a losing situation because they exported such an amount that the market plummeted,” Schiro said.
Recently, the dollar seems to be gaining momentum and getting a bit stronger, a favorable sign to U.S. importers.
On Sept. 11, the Chilean peso against the U.S. dollar was about 531-to1, but during this past spring, the rate was 430-to-1.
“International currency dynamics are much more favorable for shipping to North America this (season), and that’s great news for us and for our growers”, Smirniotis said.
Apart from the currency issue, however, Smirniotis said Europe offers many benefits to Chilean exporters.
“Europe presents a lower-risk market environment for Chilean exports because European buyers pay more fixed prices back to the growers, so there is less variability in pricing,” he said.
Schiro said he doesn’t know if the trend of increasing exports to Europe will continue, but Chilean exporters will make the final decision.
But whether the exchange rate goes up or down, or fuel prices continue to rise, the general sentiment among U.S. importers is that they’ll carry good volumes throughout the season, and pre-season sales efforts have been favorable.
“The impact on the exchange rate and transportation costs have not been that drastic. We have been able to manage around them,” Verloop said.
“The stage is set for an excellent trading season for Chilean fruit, as long as the end quality is as great as it was last year,” Smirniotis said.