Global wine exports continue growth trend

Global wine exports are continuing along a general growth trend with the exception of South Africa and Australia, as the strength of their domestic currencies dampens demand in export markets.

Australian wine export volumes fell 11.8% to about 392 million litres in the calendar year to date, while the value of exports fell 10% to $A1.06 billion ($NZ1.35 billion) compared to the same period last year, Rabobank's wine quarterly said.

Lower available supplies and the price increases implemented to combat margin pressure from the high Australian dollar were mostly to blame for the volume declines.

South African total export volumes declined 12% for the six months ending August.

Increases in bulk wine exports (up 7.2%) had not been able to compensate for declines in bottled wines (down 24.4%).

Exports to the UK, South Africa's largest wine trade partner, were down 26% for the 12 months to August, but the impact of that decline had been offset to some degree by increases in sales to smaller markets.

Demark and Canada both grew by 9% and other markets had shown strong growth rates, including Nigeria (up 22%), Thailand (up 25%), Angola (up 32%) and Tanzania (up 29%).

New Zealand exports posted modest gains to reach 84.9 million litres and $NZ577 million in the first seven months of the year.

The annual average unit value declined to $NZ6.97 per litre in July, in response to a higher proportion of bulk wine in the export mix.

Average bottled wine prices have lifted marginally as producers look to contend with the high New Zealand dollar in key foreign markets.

With the grape harvest under way throughout much of the northern hemisphere, the global wine sector could soon expect to attain greater clarity on the ongoing shift in the supply-demand balance, the report said.

Production increases in the southern hemisphere were now starting to generate moderate pricing declines in some markets but the overall supply-demand balance would depend to a large degree on what happened in the northern hemisphere.

Early indications of higher production in France and Germany could easily be outweighed by declines across Italy, Spain and the US.


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