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Import in first 5 months of 2016

At the time when Saint Petersburg hosted Economic Forum and experts shared their views on when the Russian economy would bounce back from the bottom, we were preparing our next scheduled import report which confirmed that import of the majority of nuts and dehydrated fruits increased year on year and maybe, these are the first signs of recovery?

So, let’s start from the beginning.


Russian peanuts import has increased by 13% in the first five months of 2016 to 38,5 ths tons compared to 34 ths in 2015.

Among exporting countries, Argentina firmly holds and expands its dominant position in the Russian market – from 16 ths tons in 2015 to 20.6 ths tons in 2016. Import of Brazilian peanuts rose by four times – from 3.5 ths tons in January – May 2015 to 13,5 ths tons in the same period 2016. Nicaragua has reinforced its position in Russia – peanut import volumes jumped by 60% to 1.2 ths tons in January – May 2016. Peanuts import from Uzbekistan has rocketed from 12 tons in 2015 to 358 tons in 2016. It’s a drop in the bucket on a global scale and in comparison to volumes of the largest peanuts exporters to Russia, but this represents an apparent success of the country and an opportunity for the purchasers to diversify supplies with shipments from Central Asia.

While the exporters from Latin and Central America increase their share in the Russian market, India and China evidently lag behind. Indian exporters have lost up to 80% of their share in the Russian market – their volumes plummeted from 10 ths tons in 2015 to 1,5 ths tons in 2016, which represents a major setback.  The volumes of China peanuts import has reduced by 42% and totaled 946 tons by the end of May against 1.6 ths tons YoY.

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Russian raisins importers have started the year quite rigorously, month by month increasing the import volumes and added 23% to import volumes of the previous year – 10 ths tons in 2016 vs. 8 ths tons in 2015.

Iran holds the leading role among exporting countries. While the total shipments of Iranian raisins reduced by 5% in the first quarter of 2016, the Islamic Republic not only regained the weakened role in the Russian market, but even secured the garland, leaving Afghanistan behind. Currently, the volume of Iranian raisins import to the Russian Federation amounts to 4.1 ths tons versus 3.2 ths tons in January-May 2015. Traditionally the main challenger in the Russian raisins market is Afghanistan, which is now lagging behind not only Iran, but remains even short of its own performance with 2.9 ths tons in January-May 2015 versus 3.2 ths tons in 2016.

India burst into the Russian market with a lightning speed, boosting the raisins import volumes in ten times – from 116 tons in 2015 to 1 thd tons in 2016. The same with Chile – the shipments volumes rose twice. Though sad news about the new Chilean crop are coming – Jumbo Golden suffered heavily from rains, and producers are forced to reduce the exports volumes, which might affect import to Russia as well.

Share of Turkish raisins in the Russian market has reduced by 20% to 494 tons. The new season of Sultana is on the way – producers are waiting for a high yield and the EU decision on chlorpyriphos.

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Walnut market is rising. Import volumes have risen up to 225 tons, which is by 10% more than in January-May 2016. Chile remains the main supplier of walnuts to the Russian market. But distressing news are coming from Chilean manufacturers – incessant rains in April have damaged new walnut crop. The forecast of future import volumes will not be accurate until we have official figures on new crop.

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 Price increase, raw materials shortage and cashew nut import duty in India determine the situation on the global market, but, at first sight, bypassed the Russian market – the total surplus of cashew supplies in spring months amounted to 23% – 924 tons in March-May 2016 vs. 751 tons in 2015. Though this fact hasn’t influenced the overall volume of import to Russia much, Russian purchasers made up a part, but came off in the red – only 1.5 ths tons of cashew nuts were imported to Russian in the first five months of 2016 in comparison to 2.2 ths tons in the same period last year.

Vietnam preserves the dominant position in the Russian market year in year out, and the only competition to the Asian giant may be provided by its own self, amid insignificant supplies from India due to high price and mean quality of raw materials.

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Dried apricots

Import volumes of dried apricots continue rapid growth since the beginning of the year. As of the end of May supplies to Russia have doubled in comparison to the same period last year and totaled 2.1 ths tons.

Turkey is a traditional top performer with 1.8 ths tons, which is 3 times more than in the last year. Tadzhikistan is striving to keep the head above the water, though quite uncertainly – only 40 tons in January-May 2016 vs. 258 tons in the same period previous year. Chinese dried apricots are gaining popularity in the Russian market: only 18 tons were imported from China in 2015, currently this figure rose to 283 tons. China has made ample amends for dried apricots from Tadzhikistan in the market.

First shipments of new crop will start in August. Spring freezes have damaged apricot trees growing in lowlands, but the farmers expect large yield this year. The carryover amounts to 20-30 tons, so there are no doubts that there will be plenty of Turkish apricots to cover Russian demand.

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Despite the persisting global demand for almonds, its import to Russia continues to decrease. As of the first five months it fell by 30% to 745 tons YoY. Main almond exporting countries to Russia are Chile, UAE, Turkey and China. China is gaining the leading position now, it has raised its supplies by 1.5 times to 350 tons. China is followed by Chile, which increased its supplies by 4% in comparison to the same period previous year to 245 tons.

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Iran is practically the only supplier of pistachio to Russia. The current pistachio import volumes to Russia amounts to 1.013 ths tons, which is by 11% more than in the previous year and the main share of it – 1.007 tons falls on Iran. In January and May the import volumes were lower than in the same period previous year – 150 tons vs. 287 and 34 tons vs. 157 tons. But the shortage was more than compensated in February through April, making the overall import volume in the first half of the year by 80% higher YoY, totaling to 829 tons.

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The import volumes in January through May rose by 5% from 2.5 ths to 2.6 ths tons YoY. Azerbaidzhan, Turkey and Georgia occupy the whole market. The leading position preserves Azerbaidzhan for the second current year, it has increased shipments to Russia by 50% YoY to 1.7 ths tons. Turkey follows the leader with 518 vs. 952 tons. Georgia has liven up, but its influence on the Russian market is still far from the Afghan. Anyway, if the rise will continue, it can achieve the second position – its export volumes to Russia have risen by 46% from 2015 to 390 tons.

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Prunes import to Russia increased by 1.5 times in the previous five months – 5 ths tons vs. 3.2 ths tons in 2015. Mainly due to the rise of import of prunes from the Latin American countries.

As of the end of May 2016, the prunes import from Chile has rocketed by 70% to 1.7 tons. Argentina is gaining more and more interest from Russian purchasers – 1.7 ths tons in January-May vs. 389 tons YoY. Currently Chilean and Argentinean manufacturers are reluctant to offer – they are waiting for official information in prunes volumes in the USA. Upward price trend is expected to persist amid lower yield of plums in California. How this will affect the Russian import volumes is yet to be seen.

European exporters give ground. Moldova retained the previous year volumes – 1.16 ths tons in January – May 2016 vs. 1.2 ths tons YoY, but Serbia has lost half of its export volumes – 247 ths tons in the same period.

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Sesame seeds

Russian sesame market is stiff and stable – import volumes continue rising. Import doubled in the first quarter 2016 – 2,4 ths tons vs. 1,3 ths tons in 2015, in April – May it gained only 5% from the previous year – 1.43 ths tons vs. 1.37 ths tons in 2015.

India was the main sesame supplier to Russia – in January – May 2016 it strengthened its positions in the Russian market and increased supplies by 40% – from 2.6 ths tons in 2015 to 3.7 ths tons in 2016. Mexico does not pretend to conquer any significant place, but furnished a small share in the Russian import chart – 154 tons in January-May 2016 vs. 75 tons in the same period of the previous year. Totally, the overall volume of import rose by 55% in the first five months 2016 YoY and amounted to 3.8 ths tons.

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Dehydrated fruits

Dried fruits import decreased by 7% in the first months 2016 – 4.1 ths tons vs. 4.4 ths tons YoY. Import volumes from Thailand, the main supplier of dried fruits to the Russian market, remained as in the previous year – 1.9 ths tons.

Import from Philippines rose by a quarter to 264 tons, import from Poland increased insignificantly by 3% to 438 tons. Turkish dehydrated fruits import plummeted in two times from 863 tons in January – May 2015 to 462 tons in the same period 2016.China has lost 10% of its Russian dehydrated fruits market share with 519 tons, but is still the second larger exporter of dehydrated fruits to Russia after Thailand.

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Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds import volumes in January to May 2016 remain on the same level as in 2015. But if we look at the monthly import breakdown and compare the figures to the previous year volumes, we can see a curve ranging from high above and low below the levels of the previous year. China is the main supplier of pumpkin seeds to Russia and the changes in Chinese pumpkin seeds export volumes directly affect the Russian import figures.

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