U.S. and Europe import greater banana volumes in 2018

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Imports to the U.S. through September rose by 9% year-on-year to 3.2 million metric tons (MT), while to the EU through August they rose by 4% to 4 million MT, according to USDA and Eurostat data.

The U.S.’s main supplier of the period, Guatemala, boosted its shipments to the North American country by 6% to 1.4 million MT, while the second-biggest supplier, Costa Rica, saw a 4% uptick to 649,000MT.

There were significant rises from some smaller suppliers, like Mexico (+22%, 241,000MT) and Ecuador (39%, 353,000MT). Honduras, the number-three supplier, shipped 4% lower with 360,000MT.

The average FOB value per kilo marginally to US$0.45, meaning that the FOB of the total import volume increased by 15% to US$1.4 billion.

Wholesale market prices from July through October have been in line with the average of the last couple of years, at between US$16.10 – 16.80 per 40-pound box.

As for Europe, the region’s main supplier, Ecuador, boosted shipments by 12% to 1.7 million MT, while Costa Rica, the number-three supplier, increased shipments by 8% to 837,000MT.

Meanwhile, there were decreases for Colombia (-2%, 902,000MT), the Dominican Republic (-4%, 198,000MT), and the Ivory Coast (-1%, 197,000MT).

The average FOB value per kilo declined slightly to €0.66, meaning that the FOB of the total import volume only rose by 2% to €2.7 billion, against a total volume rise of 4%.

In contrast to the U.S., however. wholesale market prices since July have been significantly lower than the average of the previous two years. Varying between €10.50 – 11.90 per 18-kilogram box, the prices have been between 6 – 19% lower.