Volumes set to halve following rain and hailstorms, causing prices to double on seasonal norms  

Record rainfall of almost three times the norm has hit the Chinese province of Guangdong this April, according to data from its weather bureau. The heavy spring rains and hail followed an unusually warm winter, which have combined to seriously impact the province’s large lychee crop.  


China is the world’s largest consumer of lychees

According to reporting from Bloomberg, approximately half of China’s lychee volumes are grown in Guangdong, with national production last year reaching 3.1m tonnes. Chen Houbin, a professor at South China Agricultural University who has studied the fruit for nearly three decades, told the news agency he believes this year’s harvest could reach only 1.65m-1.75m tonnes. This loss has caused prices to skyrocket. 

“People long for lychee season every year, and I have friends who eat more than 100 jin (50kg) a year,” said Chen. “They won’t be able to consume that much this year given the higher cost.” 

A Beijing fruit shop manager told Bloomberg prices had reached as high as Rmb80 (US$11.28) per kg when the storms were at their worst. Lychees are usually less than Rmb40 per kg at this time of year.  

In response to complaints about surging prices, Bloomberg reports Guangdong authorities have released over 200 tonnes of lychee frozen from last year. 

China is the largest consumer of lychees in the world, and much of the nation’s production is consumed domestically. However, the country still has a significant export offering, which will likely also be affected by the crop losses. China exported over 10,000 tonnes of the fruit in 2022 to a range of markets including the US and Europe, with more than half of that volume coming from Guangdong, according to Bloomberg.