Official statistics confirm that in the first four months of 2022, Argentine imports of apples rose by 600%, going from 67 tons last year to just over 460 tons in this first part of 2022, with Chile concentrating almost all of these operations.
Although the volumes of imports that are handled are marginal to the totality of what moves the internal market –traditionally, some 250 million kilos per season are placed for the consumption of Argentines–, the trends show that, if there is no change the macroeconomic scenario of the country, purchases from Chile could pierce the ceiling of 10 million kilos for the entire current year. This volume would exceed the record of imports registered in 2017.
Causes of this jump
Different reasons can explain this change in the trend in Argentine imports of apples. In the first place, due to the drop in apple production, it would be below 400,000 tons in the current season, reflecting losses of more than 170,000 tons.
The exchange delay could also be behind this increase. This point is key for the regional fruit system since it makes apple exports less competitive and encourages their imports: producing apples in the Valley is becoming more expensive in dollars, and apple imports reach the markets with much lower prices in dollars concerning the local offer.
The average at which a kilo of Argentine apples is being paid today in the country's gondolas is 1.92 dollars (official parity), paying for quality up to 4 dollars per kilo in select markets. The import values (CIF) with which the Chilean apple is entering today are located at an average of 1.02 dollars per kilo (average for the first four months); calculating expenses to get to the gondola, that apple can be placed at 1.5 dollars per kilo; about 25% less than the average of the Argentine supply and 60% below the values achieved with quality fruit. But regardless of all these distortions, the values (CIF) reflected in this and last season is 20% above those of 2020 and 2019.