Demand for Chinese export apples soars, but price remains low

Visiting traders in the Chinese apple market are selective. The trade volume remains limited. The Chinese apple reserves are at nearly 70%, which is at least 20% less than around the same time last year, but 10% more than in 2018 when the apple reserve was at its lowest in the last seven years. Apple reserves in different provinces depend on local conditions: Gansu (80%), Shanxi (66%), Shandong (63%), Shaanxi (60%), Liaoning (60%), and Henan (55%).

Visiting traders mostly purchased at the source, and farmers with apples in refrigerated warehouses only sold small volumes. The price depended on the product quality. In Li county, Gansu, visiting traders competed to secure their apple supplies, and so conditions improved. The price generally showed an upward trend and trade was lively.

1. The overall purchase price of apples is lower than last year. The price of first- and second-grade apples is 1 yuan [0.16 USD] per 0.5 kg lower than last year. And the price of mixed first-, second-, and third-grade apples is 0.5 yuan [0.08 USD] per 0.5 kg lower than last year. The differences in product quality are rather large this year, and so is the difference in price between premium and mediocre apples.

2. The apple price is low this year. And the harvest began late, so the sugar content is relatively high. That is why the sales volume is large, especially for the second-grade apples that sell at 1 yuan [0.16 USD] per 0.5 kg. These apples account for about 30% of the sales volume, and they are mainly sold in 2.5-5.0 kg plastic bags on e-commerce platforms and through group purchase methods. Apples that fell off the trees have not been entered into storage this year and the remainder is rather small. This year the refrigerated warehouses will begin supplying apples sooner than in previous years. If conditions remain regular, then apple sales should be smooth and steady this year.

3. The apple price began rather low and overseas demand for Chinese apples is growing stronger. That is why the price of small 65#-60# apples is now rising, which in turn stimulates the price of larger apples. The overall product quality is rather poor this year. The trade in apples is moving along quickly, and apple reserves are running out a bit faster than usual. The apple reserve is nearly 30% smaller than around this time last year. How will the market price develop? The answer depends on how many low-end apples the market can absorb between now and spring. If the market can clear away the majority of low-end apples before spring, then low-end and mid-range markets can help absorb some of the mid-range apples. If that happens, then the price of high-end apples will rapidly increase. If not, then the pressure on high-end apples will increase. However, judging from recent developments such as rising prices in production areas, rapid consumption, and low reserves, the apple price is likely to rise this season.

Source: Northwest Fruit Industry News


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