Recently released data from the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products reveal that in the first six months of 2020 China imported approximately 3.64 million tons of fruit with a total value of $6.33 billion, corresponding to an 8% decrease in volume and a 14% increase in value relative to the same period of last year. Meanwhile, China’s fruit exports over the same period totaled a volume of 1.35 million tons and a value of $1.98 billion, representing year-on-year (YOY) increases of 24% and 25%, respectively.
The top ten fruit categories by import value between January and June were fresh durians ($1.5 billion, +68% YOY), fresh cherries ($1.23 billion, +34% YOY), fresh grapes ($610 million, −2% YOY), bananas ($520 million, −15% YOY), mangosteens ($450 million, −12% YOY), fresh dragon fruit ($360 million, +85% YOY), fresh longans ($200 million, −6% YOY), fresh kiwifruit ($180 million, +0% YOY), oranges ($150 million, −27% YOY) and plums ($140 million, −24%). These ten categories accounted for 84% of the total import value.
Ranked in descending order of value, the top ten exporters of fruit to China in the first half of 2020 were Thailand, Chile, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Ecuador, Indonesia and Egypt.
Between January and June, China imported 383,000 tons of fresh durians, corresponding to a 10% YOY increase. The unit price of imported fresh durians during this period stood at $3.98, representing a 59% YOY increase. China’s durian supply is almost entirely dependent on imports. In 2019, durians replaced cherries as the top fruit category imported by China in terms of value.
In the first half of 2020, China imported 169,000 tons of fresh cherries, corresponding to a 27% YOY increase. The vast majority of these cherries (165,000 tons, +28% YOY) originated from Chile.
In the first six months of 2020, China imported 946,000 tons of bananas (−9% YOY). The main countries of origin were the Philippines (431,000 tons, −24% YOY), Vietnam (197,000 tons, +21% YOY) and Ecuador (192,000 tons, −12% YOY), with imports from these three countries accounting for 87% of total banana imports.
China imported 51,000 tons of fresh kiwifruit in the first half of 2020. The main exporters of kiwifruit to China over this period were New Zealand (35,000 tons, +3% YOY), Chile (8,000 tons, −45% YOY), Italy (6,000 tons, +44% YOY) and Greece (1,400 tons, −26%).
Between January and June, China’s fresh apple imports fell by 32% to 46,000 tons, with an import value totaling $79.81 million (−34% YOY). Over half of this import volume (25,000 tons) originated from New Zealand, corresponding to a 29% YOY decrease. In 2019, owing to a sharp drop in the production of domestically grown apples, China’s imports of apples from New Zealand witnessed a 77% YOY increase. However, as the supply of domestic apples began to recover in late 2019, the market demand for imported apples displayed a clearly waning trend in the first six months of 2020.
The top seven fruit categories by export value in the first six months of 2020 were fresh apples ($510 million, +21% YOY), citrus (including mandarin oranges and satsuma oranges, $440 million, +30% YOY), fresh pears ($300 million, +88% YOY), lemons and limes ($120 million, +59% YOY), fresh grapes ($90 million, +13% YOY), peaches and nectarines ($70 million, +20% YOY) and oranges ($60 million, +0% YOY). These seven categories accounted for approximately 80% of the total export value.
The top ten markets for China by export value were Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Bangladesh, the U.S. and Japan.
In the first half of 2020, China exported 400,000 tons of fresh apples, representing a 21% YOY increase. The main export destinations were the Philippines (75,000 tons, +117% YOY), Bangladesh (63,000 tons, +58% YOY), Thailand (47,000 tons, +85% YOY), Vietnam (46,000 tons, +61% YOY) and Indonesia (36,000 tons, −19% YOY). These five countries together accounted for 67% of the total export volume.
China’s fresh pear exports hit a record high of 519,200 tons in 2017. However, in the following two years, the exports registered a downward trend with the total volume in 2019 standing at 470,200 tons. In the first six months of 2020, China’s pear exports witnessed a strong rebound, with 271,000 tons (+121% YOY) of fresh pears being shipped to overseas markets. The main export destinations were Indonesia (121,000 tons, +183% YOY), Vietnam (41,000 tons, +102% YOY), Thailand (25,000 tons, +91% YOY), Malaysia (19,000 tons, +107% YOY), Hong Kong (15,000 tons, +55% YOY), the Philippines (12,000 tons, +259% YOY) and Myanmar (7,000 tons, +153% YOY). These seven markets together accounted for 89% of the total export volume.
Citrus (including mandarin oranges and satsuma oranges)
Between January and June, China exported 275,000 tons of citrus, corresponding to a 5% YOY increase. The main overseas markets were Vietnam (105,000 tons, +38% YOY), Myanmar (47,000 tons, +73% YOY), Thailand (35,000 tons, +98% YOY), Malaysia (30,000 tons, −30% YOY) and the Philippines (22,000 tons, +232% YOY). These five countries together accounted for 87% of China’s total citrus exports over this period.