US: Fruit prices buoyed by citrus

Retail prices for fresh fruit have been strong this year, despite declines for bananas, strawberries and Thompson seedless grapes. Declines in those areas were made up by strong citrus prices, leading to overall strong prices for fresh fruit in general.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the consumer price index for fresh fruit in August was the second-highest for the month in the last 20 years. The latest Fruit and Trees Outlook report by U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service cites gains in citrus prices as a reason for the strong prices. Specifically, grapefruit prices were 17 percent higher in August of 2012 than they were in August of 2011. That, along with gains in Valencia orange and lemon prices, has made up for decreases in other crops.

An early grape harvest in California, combined with large volumes of imported grapes from Mexico, have led to a market with large supplies, and that drove down prices in August. Larger quantities of imports also affected the price of bananas, and improved production increased supplies of strawberries which also resulted in lower prices.

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