According to the data of the General Administration of Customs of China, China imported 1.1115 million tons of bananas from January to June, a year-on-year increase of 9.93%; The value of goods was 562million US dollars, an increase of 26.35%year-on-year; The unit price of import was 638.74 US dollars/ton, with a year-on-year increase of 14.94%. Among them, the Philippines is still the number one source of China’s banana imports, reaching 40600 tons (36.04%), followed by Vietnam, Cambodia and Ecuador, reaching 353700 tons (31.82%), 151800 tons (17.44%) and 112400 tons (10.01%) respectively. In terms of unit price, among the four main banana source countries, Cambodia has the highest average import unit price of bananas, reaching US $783.00/ton, followed by Ecuador, the Philippines and Vietnam, with us $708.6, US $673.74 and US $552.09 per ton respectively.
According to the monthly data, March, April and may are the peak of banana import, with the import volume of more than 210000 tons each month. The main reason is that these three months coincided with the launch period of a large number of bananas from Vietnam and the Philippines, and a large number of bananas from the two countries arrived in Hong Kong. In addition, the superiority of geographical location has led to a significant increase in imports. In the time span from January to June, the Philippines ranked first in imports in January, February and June, while Vietnam ranked first in March, April and may. In June, with the temperature rising, the domestic banana market entered the off-season of consumption. In June 2022, China’s banana import volume was 155400 tons, a decrease of 27.16%compared with May. However, the import unit price reached the highest US $689.64/ton in the first half of the year, up 3.01%month on month and 19.48%year on year. In June, the Philippines again became the largest source of banana imports to China, accounting for 45%; Cambodia ranks second with 21%and Ecuador ranks third with 17%. Vietnam’s banana exports to China continued to decline, accounting for 14%from 36%last month. The increase in production input costs and agricultural materials costs had a great impact on Vietnam’s banana exports.
In the first half of the year, although the Philippines maintained its position as China’s first banana import source, its import volume increased by only 1.99%year-on-year, far below the average growth level. The share of Philippine bananas in the domestic banana import market also fell from 38.83%to 36.04%, continuing the weak trend of exports to China since the outbreak of the COVID-19. 2018 and 2019 were the peak years for China to import bananas from the Philippines, with an annual import volume of more than 1million tons. At that time, China imported less than one third of bananas from Vietnam. By 2021, the import of bananas from Vietnam has reached 40%of that from the Philippines. In the first five months of this year, Vietnam’s banana imports even exceeded those of the Philippines, and Vietnam has become a major supplier of rubber imports to China. Cambodia, which formally joined the competition in 2019, also achieved remarkable results, with the total amount of bananas exported to China surging 20 times in two years.
The reduction of domestic banana production is the main reason for the sustained growth of banana imports. From 2017 to 2021, the planting area of banana in China was significantly reduced from 5.6 million mu to about 3.9 million mu, a decrease of 30.36%; Accordingly, the output was significantly reduced from 12million tons to 8.82 million tons, a decrease of 26.5%. Affected by this, the import dependence of bananas in China has increased from 7.85%to 17.44%, with the highest value reaching 19.31%. Therefore, imported bananas make up for the reduction of domestic banana production to a certain extent and fill the domestic market demand.
In the second half of the year, the domestic banana import market will also welcome Myanmar, an important banana exporter. On June 14, the General Administration of Customs announced that in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations of China and the protocol between the General Administration of Customs of the people’s Republic of China and the Ministry of agriculture, animal husbandry and irrigation of the Republic of the union of Myanmar on the phytosanitary requirements for the export of Myanmar bananas to China, Myanmar green bananas that meet the requirements are allowed to be exported to China from the date of the announcement. It is understood that the annual output of bananas in Myanmar exceeds 1million tons, and China is undoubtedly its main export market, which also means that the market competition for imported bananas will be more intense in the second half of the year.