U.S. Potato Export Value Up, Volume Down
The USD1.8bn in international potato sales is the highest ever for the United States, which means the value of total US exports of potatoes and potato products increased by 2.37% for the July 2017 – June 2018 marketing year compared to the previous marketing year.
According to Potatoes US, the biggest gain came in fresh exports up 8.5%, with dehy up 6% and frozen up 1.8%. The only decline was a drop of 4% in the value of chip exports.
However, the fresh weight equivalent volume of exports declined by 0.86% to 3,246,830 metric tons or 71.6 million hundredweight. This represents approximately 20% of total U.S. potato production for the marketing year. The only products to show export volume increases were dehydrated potatoes up 2% and seed potatoes also up 2%. Fresh potatoes (made up of both table-stock and chip-stock) had the steepest decline at 7%. Frozen export volume was virtually unchanged from the year before, down just 0.1%.
Frozen export volume to the largest US market, Japan declined by 1.4%. US exports were up 13% to Mexico, but the US market share dropped from 82% to 76% as the EU and Canada made significant gains in the market. US exports to South Korea, the third largest market were down 6.8% reflecting the overall decline in exports to this market. After significant declines in the first six months of the marketing year US exports of frozen products to China were down just 7% for the year. However, world exports to China grew by 34% as EU exports increased by 183%. US exports to the Philippines, now the fifth largest US export destination, were up 1%, despite a 4% drop in total exports to the market.
Fresh Exports to Canada Drop 13.5% – US exports of fresh potatoes made up of both table-stock and chip-stock, were a story of pricing as the value increased 8.5% but the volume suffered from the price increases, dropping 6.8%. Canada, which accounts for 46% of the total export volume, suffered a 13.5% drop, which outweighed many of the gains to other markets. The second largest market, Mexico, increased by 11.7% to 105,055 metric tons. Exports to Japan, which are all chip-stock, declined 18% after record exports the year before when Japanese supply was decimated by a typhoon. Fresh exports to Taiwan maintained the record levels achieved the year before, while exports of chip-stock to Korea rebounded.
The 2% increase in the volume of US dehy exports was paced by a 6.5% increase to the largest market, Canada. Exports to Japan were up 1%, despite a 4% decline in total exports to the market. U.S. exports of dehy to the third largest market, Mexico were flat.
Prospects for US Exports in the Coming Year are Mixed – The ongoing trade disputes with Mexico, Canada and China could reduce exports to these very important markets. Additionally, new trade agreements by competitors the EU and Canada with Japan, Vietnam and other markets will result in lower tariffs for their products compared to the US. On the positive side world trade in potatoes continues to increase, up 84% in value and 48% in volume from 2013 to 2017. Additionally, the potato crop in the main exporting countries of the EU is projected to be much smaller than recent years due to yield decreases from a prolonged drought this summer.