Asian market prospects beat weak European demand

Chinese chestnut output: small volume, high price

The season for Chinese chestnuts is over and the harvest has come to an end. It has been a year with miscellaneous results for chestnut producers and exporter. Local production turned out 20% less than in previous seasons. In addition, demand from Europe was so weak that as a result a number of containers heading for the Netherlands have been reassigned to the Middle-East. Demand in China has been strong however, driving up prices. Other Asian export markets also displayed a growing interest.

Newly harvested chestnuts are being packed for export at one of Taian Xinliyuan's packing facilities

Wei Ren is the general manager of Taian Xinliyuan, a leading chestnut packer and exporter from Dandong City in the Northeast of the country. He looks back with mixed feelings on the past export season: “this year's production was less than in previous seasons. In addition, demand from Europe was feeble. Chestnuts are a winter crop and demand rises with cold weather. Weather conditions in Europe in the past few weeks have been particularly warm. Export to the EU started in mid-September and ran until the middle of October. Normally the season continues until the end of November.”

“Total export to Europe decreased by 20% compared to 2014. Contrarily, chestnut prices in China have gone up. In mid-September prices hoovered around 9,000 Yuan (€1,295) per ton. In October, the price had gone up to 9,200 Yuan (€1,300) per ton. Current prices top 10,500 Yuan (€1,510) for a ton. I expect retail prices in Europe to rise in the weeks before Christmas. Demand will pick up once the weather gets colder. Market supply is already capped. There have been no more loadings to Europe since the middle of October. A number of containers that were heading to Europe diverted to Dubai in October because the market has been a lot stronger in the Middle-East.”

Dandong City, in Liangning Province in the Northeast of China, is one of the two main regions for chestnut production. It is also the biggest export region in China. Average annual production output topped 20,000 tons in previous seasons. This year, however, production has leveled out at 18,000 tons. According to local data, 8,000 tons of chestnuts have been exported. About 60 containers (equal to 1,500 tons) were exported to the Netherlands, 15 containers (400 tons) were shipped to the UK, 200 tons to France and 300 tons to other European markets. In addition, 5,000 tons were exported to Dubai, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East.

The largest chestnut producing region is Taian County in Shandong Province. Taian's annual output reached 30,000 tons this year. Only 10% of this crop is exported: 2,000 tons to Taiwan and Thailand and 1,000 tons to South Korea and Europe. The remaining 27,000 tons are sold on the domestic market.

“Dandong chestnuts are popular in foreign markets because of their large size. Typically, one kilogram contains 30 to 50 pieces. Taian chestnuts are smaller with 60 to 80 pieces per kilogram. Export prices for Yuan are lower at 10,000 Yuan (€14,400) per ton,” according to Wei Ren.

Taian Xinliyuan is a leading chestnut exporters in China. The company owns warehouses and packing facilities both in Dandong and Taian.

For more information:

Wei Ren & Alina Liu
Taian Xinliyuan Fruits & Vegetable
Contact number: +86 13954849899 (Wei Ren)
Contact number: +86 13793805392 (Alina Liu)

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