European tomato market a mixed bag

EU average tomato prices in March were 19% below the reference period average (5 preceding years). That indicator is very different among Member States: 27% above average in IT, 23% below average in ES, 6% under average in the NL and 5% below average in FR.

There is, therefore, a dual situation at MS level: price levels are very low in ES and IT and moderately under average in FR and NL. Southern MS face increasing competition from early productions in Central Europe thanks to technological advances. Imports from Morocco in the 1st quarter of 2018 were at relatively high levels when compared to the reference period.

When looking backwards, EU average tomato prices were at about the maximum level of the reference period in November 2017; between December 2017 and January/February 2018 prices registered gradual reductions until stabilizing in February and March at around the minimum level price of the reference period. Provisional April prices show additional price reductions in ES and IT.

In January 2018 the volume of exports from Morocco to the EU was significantly higher than the average of the reference period.

EU average prices have been at historically high levels during most of the year 2017 (with a relative low figure in May).

As an exception to the generally good market situation in 2017, the month of May was a difficult month (the period between May to Aug in the case of NL) due to the importance of exports during that month before the loss of the Russian market.

A specific feature of the tomato market is that the level of prices can change very quickly in a matter of 2 or 3 months from very high to very low or vice-versa.

Source: European Commission

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