According to a recent USDA report, world peach and nectarine production is forecast down 1.3 million metric tons (tons) to 19.9 million as adverse weather conditions impact output in top producers China and the European Union. Global trade is expected to contract on reduced global supplies.
China’s production is forecast down 800,000 tons to 13.5 million due to freezing temperatures in early April, negatively impacting both output and quality in central and northern growing provinces. Bloom and production for the early varieties in central China were especially affected. Despite lower supplies, rising demand in Kazakhstan and Russia is expected to boost exports to 105,000 tons. Imports are projected to surge, more than doubling to 20,000 tons as Southern Hemisphere suppliers Chile and Australia capitalize on recent improved market access: Chile gained access for nectarines in February 2017, while Australia gained access for peaches in January 2018.
European Union’s production is projected to drop over 500,000 tons to 3.6 million as a wet spring coupled with extended cold winter temperatures caused losses in top growing Member States Spain, Italy, and France. Lower domestic supplies are expected to drop exports 20 percent to 200,000 tons but boost imports only slightly.
United States’ production is projected down 34,000 tons to 734,000 due to a February frost affecting nectarine production in California. Nectarine losses are expected to offset gains in Georgia and South Carolina peach crops rebounding from last year’s early bloom and late spring freeze. Greater peach supplies are expected to improve shipments to Mexico and Canada, lifting exports to 60,000 tons. Imports are projected to slip to 38,000 tons on lower shipments from Chile in early 2018.
Turkey’s production is forecast to rebound sharply from weather-related losses the previous 2 years, rising 95,000 tons to 600,000 as crops benefit from good growing conditions in the winter and spring. Greater supplies are expected to drive exports up to 100,000 tons, particularly to top market Russia.
Chile’s production is expected to slip slightly to 151,000 tons on lower yield. In line with production, exports are projected down slightly as lower shipments to top market United States more than offset higher supplies going to China.
Japan’s production is forecast to continue to erode, down 3,000 tons to 122,000 as planting and harvest area continues to decline. This stems from the ongoing challenges of an aging farmer population and a lack of younger successors.
Australia’s production is expected to rise for a second year in a row, up 2,000 tons to 94,000 on good growing conditions. Exports are forecast up slightly to 15,000 tons on higher supplies, but also reflects what will be the first complete season of peach shipments to China.
Russia’s imports are forecast to remain steady at 250,000 tons, sustaining its position as the world’s top peach and nectarine importer, as higher shipments from Turkey offset losses from Belarus.