According to customs data, China's banana imports were 215,500 tons in March 2022, with a value of US$136,883,371. The imports increased by 47.49% compared with that in February and increased by 16.49% compared with that in March 2021. Affected by COVID-19, the shipment in some production areas in Yunnan was not smooth in March. The production area in Hainan has not yet entered its peak period. These factors have caused shortages in the domestic banana supply. Some merchants have increased imports to fill the gap between supply and demand in the domestic market.
The average price of imported bananas was about 635.23 $/ton in March 2022, down by 4.46% month-on-month and increased by 13.67% year-on-year. Most of the banana plantations in Myanmar and Laos, the main importing countries, have many problematic bananas, and the volumes of good-quality products is small. Due to the impact of the pandemic, some banana farmers are eager to sell. The overall price of imported bananas decreased in March. Although the shipment at the border has improved, the market is still unstable. Spending a long time on customs clearance will have a certain impact on the quality of bananas.
In March 2022, China's largest source of banana imports was Vietnam, accounting for 41%. The imports from the Philippines and Cambodia ranked second and third, accounting for 30% and 16% respectively. Due to the impact of the pandemic since 2020, the market share of Philippine Bananas in China has gradually been seized by bananas from Vietnam and Cambodia. First of all, this is because the cost of leasing land and labor is increasing in the Philippines. There is less and less land suitable for growing bananas there. Moreover, panama disease happens frequently in the production area, and the supply that can meet export standards is reducing. There is a shortage of labor in some plantations, and they lack quality control as well.
Secondly, the price of sea freight has remained high since 2021, while most Philippine bananas need to transport by sea. However, Vietnam and Cambodia are close to China, and most of them travel overland, which is less affected by the rise in freight rates. These two regions also have certain advantages in terms of price. Although the market is not optimistic, the Philippine banana industry has applied to the local government to increase industrial investment to maintain its position in the global market.