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Insights March 2020

2 March 2020 |Horticulture
Workers in the field

Insights March 2020

2 March 2020 |Horticulture


  • A delayed table grape harvest could prove advantageous if it means the impact of Coronavirus on China’s logistics are able to resolve themselves or at least ease before export volumes pick up in earnest.
  • Capsicum prices continue to rise to reflect a smaller crop in 2020.

Table grape season will be several weeks later than average this season as above average temperatures, particularly overnight, have slowed the ripening process.

There may be positives to a later season, especially this year, as Coronavirus has restricted China’s logistics industry and caused consumers to become more cautious when purchasing food. China is Australia’s largest export
market for table grapes accounting for 38.7 per cent of export volume in 2019.

There will undoubtedly be some disruption to table grape exports, especially shipments that were in transit during the peak of the shutdown. However, inter-province logistics are expected to return to full capacity in the coming weeks
restoring usual table grape supply chains.

Australia is expected to record a record table grape harvest of approximately 240,000 tonnes this year with exceptional fruit quality. Exports are forecast to reach 175,000 tonnes an increase of 19.8 per cent year-on-year. China will be a
key market for this year’s extra supply.

Domestic prices have maintained similar levels to previous years despite increased supply. In the coming month prices are expected to soften as typical harvest pressure influences values. In the event Coronavirus continues to
impact China’s logistics and table grape export volumes, the redirection of surplus volume onto the domestic market could see prices come under significant downward pressure.

Red and green capsicums are in short supply this season as drought conditions early in the season have resulted in a smaller crop in Queensland. Capsicums would normally be in high supply during the summer months however
prices have increased to reflect a smaller crop.

In February, both red and green capsicum prices averaged almost double the price of this time last year. Historically March would be a high supply month however as it is unlikely supply will increase, prices are expected to remain
elevated as the season tails off in April.


Sources: AusMarket

*Table grape price index includes red and white grape varieties.
* Nightshade vegetable price index includes capsicums, tomatoes, chillies and eggplant.

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