During 2017, exports of asparagus will amount to US $ 540 million, i.e. 6% less than in 2016, and in 2018 they will recover slightly, by 2% to US $ 550 million, Scotiabank projected.
In general, the lower exports of 2017 are the result of a lower exported volume. In recent years, Peruvian production has been stagnant due to the antiquity of the plantations and, consequently, they produce lower yields.
In addition, this situation was accentuated in the first half of 2017 due to the higher temperatures caused by the presence of El Niño phenomenon (FEN), which affected the yields, stated Scotiabank's Economic Research Department's senior analyst, Erika Manchego.
According to Manchego, the volume of exported asparagus has fallen even though local production has had slight increases. This has happened because the adverse conditions have generated variations in the quality of the crops forcing the producers to allocate part of their production to the local market.
The decrease in Peruvian offer would favor asparagus prices in 2017, according to the bank's weekly report.
In 2018 asparagus production would increase by about 3% due to an increase in the areas sown and an improvement in yields.
The yields would benefit from the normalization of the weather conditions and the greater productivity of the new areas planted. However, it is likely that fresh asparagus prices will correct in 2018 offsetting the impact of the increased volume exported.
Peru exports asparagus in three presentations: fresh, canned and frozen. About 73% of the asparagus exported is fresh, 21% canned, and 6% is frozen.
Peru is the second largest exporter of fresh asparagus and accounted for 33% of the total volume exported in 2016, only surpassed by Mexico with 37%, according to Trademap.
Until 2015 Peru was the largest exporter of fresh asparagus in the world; however, a significant increase in Mexican production in 2016 placed them in the first place.
Peru was the main exporter of fresh asparagus to the United States until 2010. Currently, Mexico leads these shipments to the United States with 59% of the imported volume, followed by Peru with 40% of the total.
Fresh asparagus exports amounted to US $166 million between January and July 2017, 6% less than in the same period of 2016. This contrasts with a 1% increase obtained in all of 2016, when the country's fresh asparagus exports amounted to US $420 million.
The fall in fresh asparagus exports during the period between January and July 2017 is basically explained by a 15% drop in the export volume to 43,577 metric tons.
Thus, the drop in the export volume was accentuated compared to 2016 when it fell by 5% to 123,292 MT. The lower volume exported is aligned with the stagnation of the local production of asparagus caused by the antiquity of the crops and exacerbated by the FEN of 2017.
The average export price of fresh asparagus has increased both in 2016 and during the first seven months of 2017. The increase compensated for the drop in volume exported in 2016, but it is not enough to offset the lower volumes in 2017.
It is likely that during the last months of the year the trend of better prices will continue due to the lower Peruvian supply.
Peru is the second largest exporter of canned asparagus with 34% of the total exported volume, preceded only by China with 54%.
Canned asparagus exports reached US $55 million between January and July 2017, 21% less than in the same period in 2016. In 2016 canned exports fell by 10% to US $ 119 million.
In both periods, the volume exported decreased. Between January and July 2017 the volume exported amounted to 16,369 MT (-20%), while in all of 2016 it amounted to 35,135 MT (-11%).
As in the case of fresh asparagus, the lower volume of canned asparagus is also a consequence of stagnation of production and damage caused by the FEN.
Regarding the price, these would be slightly lower than in 2016 due to the cyclical nature of the Chinese offer. In this scenario, Scotiabank expects slightly higher prices in 2018 contributing to the recovery of exports.