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New Zealand frozen potato exports and imports - Quarterly Report - September 2022

Margin squeeze likely for New Zealand potato industry

Concerningly, exports of frozen fries from Belgium and the Netherlands have more than doubled in the quarter ending July 2022.  These exports will be arriving presently, given shipping lead-times.

Also of concern is the export price to New Zealand according to potatoesnz.co.nz, observed in graph above, is relatively flat at around USD $850 per tonne. This is in contrast to all other global markets, where it can be observed prices have increased significantly to around USD $1,000 per tonne to offset inflation as below. 

What does this mean for the New Zealand industry?

  • Given export price to New Zealand is disproportionate to other global markets and the New Zealand industry also exposed to significant inflation, a likely outcome is margin squeeze.
  • Secondly, if the import volume is doubling it would be expected the plans behind this could result in a loss of market share for the New Zealand industry, estimated at 3 share points.
  • With prices increasing to all other global markets and in the EU, the previously alleged dumping margins from Belgium and the Netherlands to New Zealand can only have increased.
    New Zealand Frozen Potato Exports and Imports

Source: New Zealand Statistics – All Frozen Potato Products

On a more positive note, there are encouraging signs for the New Zealand industry with continued improved export performance.  Note, commentary is based on volume except where stated.

Strong total export growth of 28% latest quarter and 21% annual growth by volume.  Value growth behind volume growth at 26% on quarter and 18% annual indicates NZ frozen potato exports continue to be more competitive than year ago or product mix has changed.
Strong export growth to the Asian markets continues to be a positive theme summarised in table below.

  • Also, its positive to see the emergence of Korea as an export market, with 587 tonnes exported in the last 12 months.
  • Australia remains by far NZ’s largest export market with a little over 31,400 tonnes exported last 12 months.  Modest growth in comparison to Asian markets at 5% annual growth, 6% on quarter
  • From an import point of view, it’s interesting to see 60 tonnes of imports from Canada for the first time since late 2020.
  • Total imports at 20,316 tonnes in the last 12 months, slowing with annual growth 9%, but growth on the quarter in decline at -7%, driven by a large decline in imports from Australia -11% latest quarter.
  • Note that the concern of increasing imports from Belgium and the Netherlands is not yet showing in the New Zealand statistics import data for two reasons:
    • Timing of shipments given lead time from Europe
    • The data we analyse for exports from Belgium and the Netherlands is only frozen fries whereas the data analysed from New Zealand import statistics includes all frozen potato products.

Source: potatoesnz.co.nz


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