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"Pre-Chrismas campaign figures lower than usual"

Spain: Lemon prices under pressure around Europe

Although the Spanish lemon season is developing in relative normality, with slightly lower prices than last year, the sector is still expecting consumption levels to increase in the way they usually do around the pre-Christmas period, when volumes are generally larger.

"Sales during the pre-Christmas campaign are not at their usual levels," states José Antonio García, director of the Lemon and Grapefruit Interprofessional Association, AILIMPO. "The situation so far is still of uncertainty and we will need to wait until next week to see if consumption starts growing."

Although no significant drops in consumption have been observed yet, statistics show that export volumes have fallen by 8% compared to the month of November last year; something which, according to José Antonio García, "is fundamentally the result of a market share loss in Eastern Europe, especially in Poland, as a result of the fiercer competition from Turkey, which exported between 20 and 25% more than last year."

In the traditional European markets, "prices are still at profitable levels, although they are lower than last season and also under a lot of pressure, as clients seek to reduce prices in an unjustified manner, considering that the situation in the plantations are well-balanced, with similar production costs as last year and supply volumes properly meeting demand with a produce of optimal quality."

"Furthermore, calibres are perfectly marketable, which was not the case at this stage last year as a result of unfavourable weather conditions."

Slow and stagnant grapefruit market in Europe
In general, all grapefruit-producing countries are facing low consumption levels in Europe; a slow and complicated market in terms of both volume and price.

Spain, Israel, Turkey and the U.S. state of Florida, which are Europe's largest grapefruit suppliers, have harvested fruit of small calibres, and although prices have been driven down compared to last season, consumption levels have not responded.

The results have also not been positive for countries exporting to Europe during the summer campaign, such as South Africa or Argentina.

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