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Home Agricultural: Farming, News & Trends South Korea Tops World Fruit Prices, Imports of Mangoes and Pineapples Reach Record High!

South Korea Tops World Fruit Prices, Imports of Mangoes and Pineapples Reach Record High!

Fruits market

According to the latest trade statistics released by the Korea Customs Service (KCS) on 16 April, South Korea’s imports of pineapples and mangoes set a new record last month, while imports of bananas and oranges also reached the highest level in years. pineapple imports in March rose by 44.7 percent year-on-year to 8,686 tonnes, the highest level ever, while the value of imports rose by 55.3 percent year-on-year to $8.678 million, also the highest level in history. Last month’s mango imports also surged 114% and 110.5% year-on-year to 6,264 tonnes and $24.742 million respectively, setting a new all-time high.

Banana imports in March increased by 27.7 percent year-on-year to 38.404 million tonnes, the highest since May 2019 (38.741 million tonnes) after a four-year and 10-month gap, while the value of imports stood at $38.134 million, the highest since June 2018 ($40.432 million) after a five-year and nine-month gap. Orange imports increased by 1.7 percent and 8.5 percent year-on-year over the same period to 38,028,000 tonnes and $83,888,000, the highest since March 2021 (46,400 tonnes, $84,118,000) after a three-year gap.

The sharp increase in fruit imports was aimed at spreading demand for apples and pears, which have seen prices rise. The government focuses on supplying imported fruits, such as bananas, in March and April to replace expensive apples and pears. According to Korean media reports, South Korea has recently ushered in the era of ‘golden apples’, with local apple prices being the most expensive among 95 major countries and regions around the world. According to the results of a survey released by Numbeo, a website that compares national and city statistics, as of March 26, South Korea ranked first in terms of the price of apples at US$6.82 (9,124 won) per kilogram. Compared with countries such as Japan, the United States, and Singapore, where prices are higher, Korea’s apple prices remain high. It is speculated that this may be due to the recent weather anomaly that has led to a sharp decrease in apple production and thus higher prices. Last year, Korea produced 394,000 tonnes of apples, a full 30% less than the previous year. Not only apples but also many other agricultural products have the highest prices in the world. For example, bananas ($3.45/kg), potatoes ($3.94/kg), and oranges ($5.71/kg) are ranked first globally.

Fruits trade

With the expansion of the scale of imports, the prices of imported fruits have begun to show a downward trend. The current retail price of pineapple is 6,561 won (about RMB 34), down 9.9 percent sequentially and 7.7 percent year-on-year. The retail price of 100 grams of bananas is 269 won, down 17.5 percent sequentially and 18.7 percent year-on-year. The retail price of 10 U.S.-made navel oranges was 15,000 won, down 10.1 percent sequentially and 5.9 percent year-on-year. The retail price of a single mango was 3,658 won, up slightly by 1.9 percent from a year earlier but down sharply by 32.9 percent year-on-year.

Apple prices have been on a downward trend lately as demand for the fruit is dispersed. The retail price of 10 Fuji apples was 25,017,000 won, down 7.8 percent sequentially but up 9.9 percent year-on-year. The retail price of 10 New Heights pears was 47,110,000 won, up 10 percent from a year earlier and jumping 73.1 percent year-on-year. Last month’s exports of apples and pears were 30 tonnes and 99 tonnes, respectively, a sharp drop of 71.8 percent and 95.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

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