JOC Insights by Mario Moreno: U.S. Containerized Avocado Imports Down for Seven Straight Months

U.S. containerized imports of avocados (HS code 080440) in February, totaling 312 TEUs, tumbled 54.1% year-over-year. This marks the 7th straight monthly decline for avocados imports. For all of 2012, imports totaled 5,210 TEUs, down 33.7% from the prior year. In 2011, imports jumped 50.4% year-over-year, mostly because of the U.S. lifting its ban on Peruvian avocado shipments. Between 2007 and 2012, total imports declined at a compound annual growth rate of -3.2%.

U.S. Avocado Imports

PORT OF LOS ANGELES HELD LARGEST SHARE OF AVOCADOS IMPORTS IN 2012

The Port of Los Angeles handled the most inbound shipments of avocados in 2012, accounting for a 31% share of all avocado imports, up 3 points from 2011. The largest suppliers of avocados shipped from the Port of Los Angeles last year were Chile and Peru.

The Port of New York and New Jersey held a 25% share of avocado imports into the U.S., followed by Philadelphia with a 10% share. The three ports handled 66% of all inbound shipments of avocados last year.

U.S. Avocado Imports by Port

PERU RAPIDLY GAINING SHARE OF U.S. AVOCADOS IMPORTS

Mexico, Chile, Peru and Dominican Republic are the main suppliers of avocados to the U.S., as measured by U.S. dollar import value. Mexico is the biggest supplier with a share of 88.6%, up 4.3% in 2012 year-over-year and 3.3% above 2010. Imports from Mexico totaled $762.3 million in 2012, down 1% from 2011. Second-ranked supplier Chile has seen its share decline over the last two years, from 12% in 2010 to 10.5% in 2011 and down to 5.5% in 2012. Third-ranked Peru, however, has rapidly gained share of the U.S. avocado import market, growing from less than one-tenth of a percent in 2010 to 3.8% in 2012. In U.S. dollar value terms, imports of Peruvian avocados rose nine times in 2010 and 100 times in 2011, mostly owed to the lifting of a ban on Peruvian Hass avocados in 2010. Despite production growth of 82%, exports of Peruvian avocados to the U.S. markedly slowed the pace last year, likely because most production gains came from growing a type of avocado oriented for domestic consumption only. U.S. imports of Peruvian avocados totaled $32.3 million in 2012, up sharply from only $30,000 in 2009.

Top Sources of U.S. Avocado Imports

The Dominican Republic is the fourth-biggest supplier, holding a 2.1% share of imports, up 0.1% from 2011 but down 0.5% from 2010. Imports in U.S. dollar value terms were merely unchanged in 2012 over prior year. U.S. avocado imports totaled $860.1 million in 2012, down 5.8% from 2011.

More of Moreno’s trade and economic analysis can be obtained by subscribing to JOC Insights or by following him on Twitter @MarioMoreno_JoC.

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