Korea's citrus imports rise


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Luisa Cheshire


Korea's citrus imports rise

South Korea's citrus import volumes are forecast to rise during the 2014/15 season thanks to improved US supply and better prices

Korea's citrus imports rise

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South Korea’s fresh orange imports are forecast to rise to 120,000 tonnes in the 2014/15 season, some 19,500 tonnes higher than in 2013/14, reports the USDA.

The increase is mainly due to a recovered supply of US oranges from California and a favourable duty rate of 15 per cent for 2015 under the KORUS FTA, the report said.

However, domestic observers are slightly pessimistic about orange imports rebounding to the peak level of 170,000 tonnes in 2011/12 due to the fact that the imported fruit market has diversified thanks to many FTA agreements since 2003, giving Korean consumers a wider choice of fruit such as table grapes, cherry, mango, lemon and grapefruit.

In 2013/14, Korea’s fresh orange imports decreased significantly to 100,457 tonnes, 34 per cent (about 50,000 tonnes) lower than the previous marketing year mainly due to damaging cold weather in California during early December 2013, and stagnant consumption in the overall Korean economy caused by a ferry accident in April which cast a pall over the country for more than three months.

Korea’s lemon imports, meanwhile, are expected to remain stable at 13,000 tonnes during the 2014/15 season, similar to the previous marketing year due to limited supply from the US coupled with an increased import price, while Chilean lemons are expected to increase their share with a more competitive price.

Lemon imports have increased with lemonade sales during the summer season and Korea imported 13,470 tonnes of fresh lemons in 2013/14, up 8.6 per cent from the previous marketing year.

Chilean fresh lemons are expected to increase their volume significantly to 2,454 tonnes in 2013/14 from 1,130 tonnes in 2012/13, while the US stayed at 11,000 tonnes as a result of increased import prices caused by higher demand in China.

Korea’s grapefruit imports for 2014/15 are forecast to increase to 20,000 tonnes as it’s expected to be more competitively priced compared to lemons along with an anticipated demand for grapefruit-ade during the summer season.

In 2013/14, Korea’s grapefruit imports totalled 18,108 tonnes, 59 per cent higher than the previous marketing year. As lemon prices increased, more competitively-priced grapefruit was used for drink purpose by cafes.

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