- Sophie Colvine
, François-Xavier Branthôme
- 2018 Season
Chinese production drops by 39% in 2018 and the second largest processor leaves the industry
According to information received from several local sources, it is estimated that the Chinese 2018 processing season will finish this week (week 39, ending 29 September), with a total volume of about 3.8 million metric tonnes (mT) of tomatoes processed; this is slightly more than the 3.7 million mT expected at the beginning of the season, but a large drop compared with the 6.2 million processed in 2017. We should however mention that one of our contacts believes that the total volume will not exceed 3.3 million tonnes.
The weather during the season was generally good in Xinjiang, where production exceeded the earlier expectations; the quality of fresh tomatoes was better than last year with most of the paste produced having a colour of above 2.2. High temperatures in July, however, caused a big peak of maturation of tomatoes in South Xinjiang which led to some waste and a lower processing yield than usual. The price of fresh tomatoes was a little higher than anticipated, with an average of RMB 400 to 410 per metric tonne (c. 59 USD/mT, 50 €/mT), the same as last year. Only three or four factories are still working this week and the harvest will finish at the end of this week. It is estimated that one million mT was processed in Southern Xinjiang and 1.8 million mT in Northern Xinjiang. The environmental protection regulations put in place by the government in the last few years - but strictly applied this year - have limited the number of factories which could process and the usable processing capacity for many of the others. As explained before, part of this year’s contraction is also due to the second largest operator, Chalkis, decision to leave the industry and putting thirteen of its factories for sale.
The weather conditions in Inner Mongolia have been abnormal throughout the season with several periods of rain in July and August. This led to very low brix and very soft fruits which pushed the farmers to deliver earlier, meaning the factories reached full capacity fast in August. At the end of August, however, factories have had to lower their processing speed as there was not enough fresh tomatoes. Consequently, most of the processors did not reach their target and the final volume processed was only between 900,000 tonnes and 1 million tonnes.
The three factories in the Gansu province have processed only about 120,000 mT this year.
The production of tomato paste is estimated at between 500,000 and 550,000 tonnes, of which:
• CofcoTunHe: 200,000 tonnes
• Guannong group (factories Y7 & Y4): nearly 40,000 tonnes
• Ex-HaoHan group (factories Y123 & Y125): 45,000 tonnes
• Hongxiang group: 12,000 tonnes (factories Y122 )
• Dong Fang Hong (factory Y116): 12,000 tonnes
• Huize and XIang Fen (factories Y106 & Y118; Conesa group): 16,000 tonnes
• Tianshan Woyuan (factory Y126): 12,000 tonnes
• Fuyuan group: 12,000 tonnes
• Chalkis (no direct production but factory Y86 rented): 9,000 tonnes
The balance is from about thirty small companies or factories.
Sources: Chinese industry