the US market rather than to the European market because of the high prices, but now that the Mexican volumes are rising and prices in the US are falling, Colombia is trying to ship to the European market again." What is striking is that there is increasing demand in France for untreated limes. "Both Brazil and Mexico supply limes that are no longer treated after the harvest, and Spain and Morocco also do this, which of course makes their transport much easier." Lemons and limes do not compete with one another on the French market. "Lemons are mainly used for cooking, while limes are a popular cocktail ingredient."
Netherlands: Lime market recovers after bad start
The lime market situation has been very bad in Europe lately. "It all started when the prices dropped sharply in week 7. The reason for this is the fact that between week 4 and week 11, Brazil has been shipping between 20% and 40% more limes than in previous years, and in the first weeks of the year, the consumption of limes in Europe is always significantly lower. Fortunately, the market is now recovering. In recent weeks, the export volumes from Brazil have been lower than in previous years. Mexico is shipping almost nothing to Europe because they currently enjoy very good market conditions, with good prices, in their main sales market: the United States. Also, production is still limited at this time.
There are still some older batches of limes in the market at the moment, but they will also be sold in upcoming one to two weeks. Importers expect export volumes from Brazil to remain stable or even fall slightly, and the first volumes of Mexican limes will only start to be shipped in week 17/18, provided that the prices in Europe increase. Otherwise, Mexico will just continue exporting to the United States. With temperatures rising in Europe, the demand should also increase. And with the current export volumes, that will probably result in a price increase. Importers are unsure about whether the prices will actually reach € 10 to 12 Euro, but according to them, getting 6 to 8 Euro is feasible."
China: Rising international demand too small to absorb production surplus
The Anyue region is China's most important lime growing region. The production is increasing annually. For the current season, the USDA predicts a 15% increase in the volume. Although exports continue to rise, that growing export is insufficient to absorb the larger volume. Growers fear losses because the average price is stagnating. The limes are mainly processed; the consumption of fresh limes is small.
At this time, imports are arriving from the US. These limes will be available until June. Although the quality is good, the sizes are large and these are less appreciated by the Chinese consumer. With the trade war and the import tariffs that the US and China are setting, it is unclear how the market will develop. South Africa will be hitting this market later in the year.
Australia: Indonesia's most important export market
The peak in the annual supply is reached between January and April. There is currently a large volume available in the market, especially in the northern states. According to the latest Hort Innovation figures, the production and yield of lemons and limes, which are combined in the statistics, have fallen in the year ending in June 2017. Only 1% of lemons and limes are exported. More than half of those go to Indonesia. Imports increased by 21%. Most limes were imported from the US. In the trade year 2016/2017, more than 10,000 tonnes of limes and 31,397 tonnes of lemons were produced in Australia.