National Editor Tom Karst Several months ago I had a blog post titled “Peruvian grapes: stealing Chile’s sunshine?” and I notice the post continues to get hits.
I’m not sure if that means there is more and more worry about the state of the Chilean fruit export deal, but it might be a good time to review recent reports on Chilean fruit.
Checking out the website for Fedefruta, the Chile’s National Association of Fruit Producers, there is palpable concern and growers and exporters about the state of the exchange rate in Chile.
Excerpts from the news release(Google translate edition):
FEDEFRUTA President of the Central Bank and government officials: "We must react now"
Thus, Cristián Allendes insisted exchange intervention and the implementation of public policies to prevent further deterioration of the competitiveness of the fruit industry.
With a sense called "react now and not wait for the export sector have to go bad times to do it," the president of the Fruit Growers Federation of Chile (Fedefruta), Cristian Allendes, insisted Thursday in urgent need that the Central Bank and government authorities involved the exchange market and implement public policies that raise the price of the dollar and prevent further loss of competitiveness of the fruit industry.
"The exchange rate deteriorated by more than 10% last year, starting from a very low base and, as was 524 pesos per dollar. Today the market is in a range of 470 pesos and wonder what must happen for the Central Bank and the government do something?. With that, our industry lost about 500 million dollars a year, "said Allendes.
TK: Allendes goes on to say the sector is experiencing a “perfect storm,” of labor shortages, high energy and transportation costs and worsening exchange rate. Growers and exporters say they would like the peso to dollar exchange to be about 550 pesos per dollar to restore competitiveness to the sector.
More immediate concerns to the U.S. trade are lighter than normal arrivals so far this year. Through Jan. 5, season to date Chilean grape volumes to the U.S. were 47.5 million pounds , down 33% from 70.5 million pounds a year ago at the same time. From January through November , U.S. imports of Chilean grapes were 338,000 metric tons. That compares with complete year totals of 400,000 metric tons in 2011 and 406,000 in 2010.
Alluding to light early season supplies from Chile, the Jan. 11 USDA fruit and vegetable retail report showed that 1,200 U.S. stores were promoting red seedless grapes at that time, down from more than 5,000 stores at the same time a year ago. Advertised prices for red seedless in early January were $2.69 per pound, up from $2.38 per pound a year ago. White seedless grape promotions were down from 2,885 stores last year to 1,895 stores this year. Ad prices for white seedless grapes were $2.81 per pound, up from $2.69 per pound a year ago.