U.S. fresh-market apple holdings on Dec. 1 were off 16% from year-ago levels, according to a new report from the U.S. Apple Association.
Total fresh holdings on Dec. 1 were 103.3 million 42-pound cartons, off 16% from 122.9 million cartons last year and 11% less than the five-year average holdings of 116.7 million cartons, according to the December 2018 Market News report from the apple association.
Apples in storage for processing were off even more sharply, with Dec. 1 holdings of 25.5 million cartons down 44% from a year ago and off 42% from the five-year average.
Compared with the same time a year ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices for Washington apples on Dec. 7 were similar to year-ago levels:
> Red delicious, $16-18 for size 88s, up from $14-17 per carton a year ago;
> Galas, $18-22 for size 88s, up from $16-22 per carton a year ago;
> Honeycrisp, $44-51 for size 88s, compared with $44-52 per carton a year ago;
> Granny smith, $24-28 for size 88s, compared with $28-34 per carton a year ago;
> Fuji, $18-24 for size 88s, compared with $22-26 per carton a year ago.
Apple industry leaders have expressed concern that retaliatory tariffs may hold back exports, particularly to Mexico, China and India. USDA trade statistics showed U.S. apple exports in October totaled 55,672 metric tons, off 19% from October 2017. However, the USDA said year-to-date apple exports (January through October) were running well ahead of 2017. Through October 2018, U.S. apple exports totaled 782,000 metric tons, 11% more than 703,000 metric tons for the same period in 2017.