CHINA – Orange production in China for marketing year (MY) 2023/24 is expected to continue to grow exponentially, despite challenges related to the slow economy, reaching 7.63 million metric tons (MMT), latest GAIN report reveals.

According to the forecast, growth is anticipated in the Jiangxi province – the largest navel orange production area in China – which is expected to increase its production by 15 percent.

The bigger crop will be the result of two major factors, heavy rainfall from July to September and replanted trees bearing more fruit.

According to industry contacts, the overall quality of the Jiangxi oranges this season is not as good as last year, as the fruit has a lower brix level because of excessive rain.

Although navel orange production in Hunan and Hubei are expected to be stable, quality is expected to be significantly improved with lower acid levels.

In addition to stable production of navel oranges, growers in Yunan province expect an improvement to the “Bintang Orange” crop, including the well-recognized brand “Chu Orange” available in most high-end supermarkets.

Packers and distributors predict that average orchard prices will be down 12 – 30 percent year-on-year because a sizeable portion of production will be impacted by the heavy rainfall (July-September) and will have lower brix levels.

The report further outlines that China’s orange imports for MY2023/2024 are expected to be slightly down year-on-year at 210,000 MT, recognizing that China Customs data registered final numbers for MY2022/23 at 213,043 metric tons.

“The slow economy is encouraging consumers to be increasingly price conscious while imported oranges are sold at a premium hence the reduced market for imported oranges,” outlines the report.

In MY 2022/2023, China imported about 4.6 percent fewer fresh oranges from the world, mainly due to strong domestic production and inconvenient COVID prevention measures at the port of entry.

Moreover, the report reveals that China’s orange exports in MY 2023/24 are expected to remain stable at 50,000 MT, about the same as the 49,428 MT registered for MY 2022/23.

“China is expected to yield more fresh oranges while demand from Russia should continue to rebound following restricted trade from the war,” reads the report.

China’s orange exports in MY 2022/2023 were down 22 percent from the previous year, mainly due to the heavy decline in trade from Vietnam (down 39 percent) and Hong Kong (down 22.9 percent).

However, trade with Thailand and Russia increased to 6,313 metric tons and 3,324 metric tons, respectively.

Top 10 export destinations for Chinese fresh oranges in MY2022/2023 were Vietnam (accounting for 42.7 percent market share, down 12 percent from last year), Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand, Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Macao.

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