Sep 17, 2018
US potato exports reach record value

The value of total U.S. exports of potatoes and potato products increased by 2.37 percent for the July 2017 – June 2018 marketing year compared to the previous marketing year. This is according to numbers from Trade Stats Northwest. The $1.8 billion in international potato sales is the highest ever for the U.S., Potatoes USA said in a release. The biggest gain came in fresh exports up 8.5 percent, with dehy up 6 percent and frozen up 1.8 percent. The only decline was a drop of 4 percent in the value of chip exports.

However, the fresh weight equivalent volume of exports declined by 0.86 percent to 3,246,830 metric tons or 71.6 billion hundredweight. This represents approximately 20 percent of total U.S. potato production for the marketing year. The only products to show export volume increases were dehydrated potatoes up 2 percent and seed potatoes also up 2 percent. Fresh potatoes (made up of both table-stock and chip-stock) had the steepest decline at 7 percent. Frozen export volume was virtually unchanged from the year before, down just 0.1 percent.

. U.S. exports were up 13 percent to Mexico, but the U.S. market share dropped from 82 percent to 76 percent as the EU and Canada made significant gains in the market. U.S. exports to South Korea, the third largest market were down 6.8 percent reflecting the overall decline in exports to this market. After significant declines in the first six months of the marketing year U.S. exports of frozen products to China were down just 7 percent for the year. However, world exports to China grew by 34 percent as EU exports increased by 183 percent. U.S. exports to the Philippines, now the fifth largest U.S. export destination, were up 1 percent, despite a 4 percent drop in total exports to the market.

U.S. exports of fresh potatoes made up of both table-stock and chip-stock were a story of pricing, Potatoes USA said, as the value increased 8.5 percent but the volume suffered from the price increases, dropping 6.8 percent. Canada, which accounts for 46 percent of the total export volume, suffered a 13.5 percent drop, which outweighed many of the gains to other markets. The second largest market, Mexico, increased by 11.7 percent to 105,055 metric tons. Exports to Japan, which are all chip-stock, declined 18 percent 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 percent increase in the volume of U.S. dehy exports was paced by a 6.5 percent increase to the largest market, Canada. Exports to Japan were up 1 percent, despite a 4 percent decline in total exports to the market. U.S. exports of dehy to the third largest market, Mexico were flat.

Prospects for U.S. 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 U.S. On the positive side world trade in potatoes continues to increase, up 84 percent in value and 48 percent 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.



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