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Looking back on the Chinese apple market in 2019 forward to 2020

The overall surface area devoted to apple plantations in China is still growing. The centre is currently moving from Shandong to Shaanxi. The overall surface area devoted to apples in Shaanxi continues to grow and in overall production volume Shaanxi has already overtaken Shandong. However, the production volume per hectare is much lower in Shaanxi than in Shandong. This is because new production areas only enter the most productive stage after 4-5 years. In other words, although the overall surface area devoted to apple plantation in Shaanxi is rapidly growing, the overall production volume is not growing equally fast. And while the overall surface area devoted to apple plantation in Shandong is in decline, the production volume is still growing.

The price of Chinese apples showed two different developments in 2019. The apple harvest in 2018 rapidly declined because of extreme weather conditions. The volume of apples entered into storage was therefore relatively low. As a result, apple supply was limited during the first half of 2019. The price of apples continued to rise from May onward. This development did not end until August. The new apple harvest entered the market in September. The price of apples then began to fall. This decline continued until November when the price of apples reached regular levels.

The apple production volume in 2019 nearly reached the same level as in 2017 and the price of apples in 2020 is therefore expected to follow a similar development as in 2017. The main influence on price development is production volume, and the main influence on production volume is the weather, in particular the damage extreme weather can cause. The most severe natural disaster for an apple plantation is a cold spell in spring. However the cold spell that reduced apple production in 2018 was relatively rare.

The apple production volume will continue to expand in 2020 as long as the weather conditions remain regular. The apple production volume is likely to exceed the record of 2017. This will then lead to a price decline in September, 2020. The average range of apple prices will then move downward again.


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