A poor global citrus production has caused the volume that South Africa and Egypt have sent to Europe to fall for the first time in five years.
The reduction of South African imports is quite important for Spain, since the end of the South African citrus campaign overlaps with the beginning of the Spanish one. This is especially the case since the signing of a free trade agreement that extended the period for this country to export to the EU without paying tariffs to November.
End to five years of growth for South Africa
According to Eurostat data, South Africa sold 659,854 tons to Europe up until September; 30% less than in 2018.
Egypt falling, as well
Shipments from Egypt, the world's second largest citrus exporter, have also declined, although in this case the impact has been more limited due to their specialization in oranges and the results in the second part of the campaign. In fact, this factor is stopping Spanish growers from betting on late varieties in order to extend the season. Still, Spain's orange imports this year will amount to almost 290,000 tons, which is less than last year's 339,103 tons.
Another current and future threat to Spanish citrus is Turkey, which is betting on early mandarin plantations that will also start bearing fruit in future campaigns. However, the threat will not be effective this year, as European imports plummeted from 185,905 tons in 2018 to 95,823 tons this year.
These declines and the lower production available in Spain are the main reasons why the Clemenules sold for over 40 cents in many cases this year; a record figure for the last decade.