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Global trade grapes stabilizes

Growth in Asia, but EU market saturated

The growth of global trade in (consumption) grapes stabilized last year, but until 2013, there has been consistent growth of up to 4.2 million tonnes. Export represents a value of 6.7 billion Euro.

The Netherlands plays a major part in that trade, being the second importer of grapes after the US. Because most imported grapes are re-exported, almost exclusively to EU countries, the Netherlands is also a major exporter. Dutch import represents a value of 740 million Euro, and the export value was 530 million Euro last year.

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The growth of the global trade is realized by a greater demand for grapes in South and East Asia, and in the Gulf states. The countries that mainly profit from that increased demand are South Africa and Peru, and until recently also Chile.

Chile absolute number 1
South America is the most important export region for grapes. On this subcontinent, Chile is the absolute number one when it comes to export of grapes. Last year, with an export of 824,000 tonnes, Chile represented nearly a fifth of the total global trade in grapes. Italy comes in at number two with a tenth of the world’s total, but the Italian export is shrinking. The US takes third place, and until recently their export also displayed an upward trend.

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Peru major grower; India also on the rise
The top three is followed by three countries that have been making inroads on the grape market in recent years. The most important representative is Peru. This country’s grape export has seen rapid growth. From tens of thousands of tonnes in 2006 and 2007, to 260,000 tonnes last year. Peruvian export increased so strongly that they already export nearly as much as South Africa, a country that managed to further expand its export to 300,000 tonnes in 2014. Turkey is the other big grower, able to export 260,000 tonnes last year.

Number 7 and 8 on the list with exporters are transit countries the Netherlands and Hong Kong, followed by Mexico, whose export is virtually exclusively focused on the US.

India is also on the rise as a supplier of grapes. Last year, around 140,000 tonnes was exported. The export from China is also growing, albeit slightly. Egypt is a reasonably stable exporter, with a volume of over 100,000 tonnes. Greece is also rather stable. Australia’s export fluctuates a bit, and was high again in 2014 with 86,000 tonnes.

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Strong decline import Russia; Turkey still does well there
The US is the main importer of grapes, although last year’s import remain behind that of previous years, when it was already less than top years 2006 and 2007. Chile is by far the most important supplier, followed by Mexico.

After the Netherlands, Russia is the third importer. Russian import fell sharply last year. Only 326,000 tonnes were imported that year, compared to over 400,000 tonnes in 2010 and 2011. On an annual basis, Turkey is the most important supplier to Russia, and the country was able to benefit from the boycott of EU grapes. It exported 167,000 tonnes last year, significantly more than previous years. More was also imported from Moldova, Peru, India and China, but a decline was noticeable in the Russian import from Chile, South Africa and especially Argentina and Italy.

German and English market big but stable
The import of grapes in Germany has passed its peak years ago. Last year, the import amount was 311,000 tonnes. Remarkably, the EU countries Italy, Greece and Spain are Germany’s biggest suppliers, followed by overseas grapes, which go to Germany via the Netherlands.

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The United Kingdom is also a major market, with an annual import of 250,000 tonnes. The English market has been saturated for years as well. Main suppliers in the southern hemisphere (SH) are South Africa and Chile, followed by Spain, Egypt, India and Greece. Peru is also a strong grower on the English market as a supplier of grapes.

A high increase in demand for imported grapes is noticeable in China (incl. Hong Kong). Chile and Peru benefit from this in particular. Australia also managed to supply more to China/Hong Kong in recent years. South Africa didn’t manage to benefit from the bigger Chinese demand though. India is only supplying small quantities of grapes to China.

Two seasons with little overlap
Global trade has two very clearly separated seasons. Overseas produce from the southern hemisphere is on the market from December until May. The peak is in March and April. The grapes from the northern hemisphere, including those from the EU, are on the market from July until November, with a peak in September and October. Seeing how the Netherlands mainly imports overseas grapes, by far the most grapes are imported between December and May, and a bit in June. In the months in between, relatively little is imported.

The import pattern in Germany is different. German grape import is biggest in the months of September and October, when around 50,000 tonnes is imported in both months. From December until May/June, the import is just over 20,000 tonnes a month, half or more of which consists of overseas grapes traded through the Netherlands.

The import pattern in the United Kingdom also looks different. Compared to the Netherlands and Germany, import in the United Kingdom is distributed much more evenly over the year, with a small peak in March/April and December.

Netherlands big buyer for many countries
For years, a lot of the EU trade in overseas grapes has been conducted via the Netherlands. That trade has been rather stable for a while, at 250,000 to 270,000 tonnes. The import of grapes from EU countries has been a lot smaller in recent years than before.

Since 2010, South Africa has been the main supplier to the Netherlands, with 114,000 tonnes being imported in 2014 according to Eurostat figures. South African export figures even mention 134,000 tonnes. Part of the South African grapes probably had a Dutch port as their destination, but transit took place without clearing. The import from Chile was also smaller than before in 2014. Peru, on the other hand, increased significantly, and the increase of import from India is also remarkable. Grapes are also increasingly imported from Egypt and Namibia. Import from EU grapes to the Netherlands is decreasing more and more though.

For a number of countries, the Netherlands is an important buyer. For South Africa and India, the Netherlands is even the most important buyer, but for Chile (3rd), Peru (2nd) and Egypt (2nd), the export to the Netherlands is also of great importance.

More info:
Fruit & Vegetable Facts
Jan Kees Boon
+31 6 54 687 684

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