This 12-page USDA FAS report provides an update on China's citrus outlook and some interesting observations about U.S. citrus export prospects. Some highlights . . .
China’s citrus production is forecast at 23 million metric tons (MMT) for marketing year 2010/11, which is down eight percent from the revised MY2009/10 estimate of 25 MMT. This decrease is due to low temperatures and persistent rain during planting and flowering seasons in key producing provinces. Short domestic supplies have significantly pushed domestic prices to record high levels; and, as a result, locally-produced and imported oranges are becoming price competitive. The United States continues to be the dominant supplier of oranges, mandarins, and lemons to China.
Orange imports are forecast at 96,000 MT in MY 2010/11, up 20 percent from the previous year, on reduced domestic production and larger foreign exportable supplies. Short domestic supplies have significantly pushed domestic prices for oranges to record high levels; and, as a result, locally-produced and imported oranges are becoming price competitive. For instance, in a supermarket in Chengdu, locally-produced oranges are sold at $1.2 per kilo (a 50 percent price increase from last year), while imported oranges remain at $1.8 per kilo. With the United States expecting a nine percent increase in its MY 2010/11 crop, Chinese importers may purchase more U.S. oranges this season. The U.S. remains the largest supplier of fresh oranges to China, as it supplies 90 percent of total imports.
Mandarin imports are forecast at 10,000 MT in MY 2010/11, up 10 percent from the previous year. The U.S. is the largest exporter of mandarins to China, followed by Thailand. New Zealand, once the top supplier, still cannot export mandarins to China due to quarantine issues.
Based on additional supplies from the United States, the largest lemon supplier to China, imports are forecast at 8,000 MT in MY 2010/11, up four percent from last year. U.S. lemon production is forecast to increase by 10 percent in MY 2010/11.
Currently, the United States is the leading supplier of citrus products to China and will continue to expand its current market share of 84%. The main competition for the United States is China’s domestic production as quality is improving at a rapid pace. Despite this year’s unfavorable weather conditions, the quality and size are still desirable to consumers.