Rabobank: US wine exports to EU fall

US wine exports saw a double digit decline on the back of falling sales to the EU, according to the latest Rabobank report, but France saw “remarkable” increases in exports to the UK, despite an average price rise of 10.6%.

The major fall in sales to the EU saw US wine exports fall 15% by volume and 8% by value, with both bottled wine and bulk shipments down by around 15%, Rabobank’s analysts said.

However there was good news for France, which saw volume exports rising 5.9% in the first quarter of 2017 with a 14.7% rise in value sales. This highlighted an increase in the average price of around 8%, it said, although the average price of wine to the UK rose by 10.6% per Litre.

Analysts Stephen Rannekleiv and Maria Castroviejo said it was “remarkable” that France’s exports to the UK had increased, with volumes up 2.9% and 13.8% in volume.

The picture was relatively rosy across Europe, with Italy seeing a boost over the quarter, led by sparkling wine, up 10% in volume and 15.1% in value. The value of Spain’s wine rose 8.9%, with volumes flat at 0.1%, fed by a number of different factor: although bulk wine volume fell in value as the price per litre rose “significantly”, this was offset by value sales rising 11% and there was an improvement in PDO wine exports which make up around 16% of sales. These rose 47% in value, although there was a marginal decline in average prices. The price of sparkling wine also fell by double-digits, but this boosted both volume and value exports by 23.7% and 9.4% respectively. Overall sales to the US were also strong.

Across the Southern hemisphere, the picture was a bit patchier.

Australia saw volume exports fall 1.6% in the first quarter, but this was driven by a tail-off in bulk wine shipments, and offset by an improvement in bottled wines, which helped drive the 14.1% increase in value shipments. Falling shipments to the UK was also offset by an increase of bulk wine to the US, and bottled wine to China.

Argentinian bulk exports also fell at a faster rate than bottled wine, the report showed, down 39%, compared to a 6.5% fall in bottled wine. As a result the overall volume decline was 14.8%, with values also affected, falling 2.2%. But the country imported more bulk wine from Chile, compensating its neighbour for a decline to most of its major markets. As a result, Chile saw its wine exports rise up 4.9% in volume and 8.2% in volume in the first four months of 2017, with bottled wines growing at more than twice the rate of bulk.

Inventories squeezed

Rabobank warned that frost damage across Europe over the Spring was likely to result in increase prices, but although yields for the 2017 harvest were likely to be hit, producers were expected to have enough existing stock to ensure availability.

Inventories across the Southern hemisphere were likely to remain under pressure though, due to solid demand on the export market and tighter global inventories. This was despite higher yields in Australia, South Africa, Chile and Argentina. It pointed out however that Chile and Argentina’s uptick in yields came in comparison to last year’s poor harvest, keeping the pressure on inventories, and New Zealand had seen a slight decrease, albeit in line with historic production.

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