Mexico Citrus Annual 2009

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MY 2009/10 (November-October) production of fresh oranges is forecast at lower levels compared to the already low levels of MY 2008/09 as production areas, mainly the northern states of Mexico, were affected by dry weather conditions throughout 2009. Mexican orange exports are forecast to increase slightly from export levels of MY 2008/09 as more demand is expected from the international market. The final export figures will depend on U.S. demand.

Total MY 2009/10 production for Key and Persian limes is forecast at two million metric tons (MMT) due to expected better weather conditions. Lime exports for MY 2009/10 are forecast to increase slightly compared to MY 2008/09 exports. Since exports depend heavily on international demand from Europe and the United States, the current financial situation will ultimately influence demand.

Grapefruit production for MY 2009/10 is forecast to be slightly higher compared to MY 2008/09 due to acreage coming into production and expected better weather conditions. Production for MY 2008/09 was low as expected as northern areas were affected by dry weather conditions. Some fruit could not reach the fresh market due to quality issues, and therefore was sold for processing. Grapefruit production for MY 2007/08 was revised upward based on official GOM data.

Reliable production numbers for frozen concentrate orange juice (FCOJ) are difficult to obtain since no official statistical data are available. According to industry sources, FCOJ production for MY 2010 (January-December) is forecast to decrease to 65,000 MT due to an expected lower availability of fresh fruit for the industry. Exports of FCOJ for MY 2010 are forecast to decrease compared to previous years due to lower availability of fruit. The expectation of better international prices and stronger demand could increase exports more than forecast.

It is likely that dry weather conditions will continue to affect orange and grapefruit production from the northern states, mainly Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, and the northern part of Veracruz. Production from the other states is expected to be good. Persian lime production overall is likely to face fewer problems from the dry weather since a slight increase in production is expected to counterbalance the dryness due to more flowerings. FCOJ production could be affected the most since lower international prices depress the profit margins for companies. Although citrus imports are not significant compared to production, it could be affected by the weakening of the Mexican peso relative to the U.S. dollar and the economic crisis afflicting the Mexican economy.

Dulce Flores
Mark Ford