The new garlic harvest gradually entered the Chinese market in May. The supply volume and trade volume both increased as the garlic drying process continued and the product quality improved. International garlic trade data shows that China exported around 634,700 tons of fresh and frozen garlic in the period between January and May, 2021. That is 161,300 tons less than the 796,000 tons of 2020. The Chinese garlic export volume declined by around 20.26%.
The ten most important export markets for Chinese garlic in May were Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brazil, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
International garlic trade data also shows that China exported 118,600 tons of fresh and frozen garlic in May alone. That is smaller than the 145,000 tons in April. The Chinese garlic export volume dropped by 18.21%. The new harvest of fresh garlic gradually started to take over the market in May, and at the same time some of the better production areas began to deliver high-quality, dried garlic that meets the export standards. Overseas buyers had more choice in the Chinese garlic market, but the price of dried garlic was still rather high. That is why the processing factories still relied on garlic from last season. The impact of fresh garlic remained somewhat limited.
The export price of Chinese garlic showed a downward trend in April and May. In May the price was around 968.82 USD per ton, which is 0.86% lower than the price of 977.27 USD per ton in April. Compared to last year, however, the price of garlic is rising. The price of 968.82 USD per ton in May this year was 26.67% higher than the price of 764.84 USD per ton in May last year.
In the last half year there has been a shortage of shipping containers and cargo space, while some ships were overbooked, and others skipped ports. All in all, the shipping cost has been soaring, and the second half of this year does not seem to offer any solution to this problematic situation. Many shipping containers arrive much later than planned, some experience delays of as much as 10-15 days, because ships stop for 2-3 days in every port of call. Garlic exporters look at this situation with apprehension and fear. There are fewer orders than last year, and those who do pre-order are careful about the contracts they sign. This is a serious hit for the Chinese garlic export industry. On top of all that, the appreciation of the Chinese Yuan puts further pressure on export companies. The downward trend in terms of price and volume is therefore to be expected.