OVERVIEW GLOBAL GINGER MARKET
Although the situation in the ginger market is determined by China, due to the huge volume that the country exports, importers in different countries prefer the more expensive supplies from, for example, Peru and Brazil. According to these traders, the quality is much better. However, due to the lower prices of the past year, several growers in Latin America have turned their backs on the crop. In Europe, demand is peaking, motivated by the wintry weather. Consumers mostly buy ginger because of its health properties.
Stable market in China
Between August and November last year, export prices rose because of speculation and the good quality achieved at the end of the season. The harvest takes place in November. In total, 10% more ginger was harvested last year than in 2015. After the harvest, ginger is stored for four to six weeks until the product is suitable for export. Ginger is usually stored underground. Due to the cold weather in the northern provinces, such as Shandong, where most of the product’s cultivation takes place, the less professional companies can suffer damages.
Export prices have increased in the weeks ahead of the Chinese New Year. The New Year falls in the last two weeks of January. After that, the business focuses again on exports and prices tend to stabilise. The ginger for the domestic market and for export to Japan is generally fresh. Ginger is dried for export to Europe and the US. The new crop has little time to dry. Exporters quickly selling their harvest may be shipping only partially dried ginger. The quality of this ginger is less stable during transport. This can lead to a lower quality on export markets in the first weeks of the new season.
Nigeria: growing ginger market
In this West African country, the popularity of ginger is rising, not only for fresh, but also dried and powdered product. On the international market, a tonne of ginger generates between 6,000 and 7,000 dollars. In Nigeria, that price stands at $ 3,500. Ginger has gained a permanent place in many kitchens, thus boosting the demand. For the Nigerian exporters, transport is a challenge. Moreover, the country’s production is not very well known.
German demand peaks in winter months
The winter season is always the high season for ginger. Demand is growing, as more consumers use ginger because of its health benefits and more recipes with ginger are appearing. Ginger is consumed more when the temperature is low, probably to prevent flu, explains a trader. At present, there is Peruvian ginger available. In about 2.5 weeks, the first Chinese new harvest will arrive in Rotterdam.
Belgian market slow
The ginger market is still slow, but things are now better than a few weeks ago. Back then, it was completely calm, according to Belgian traders. Both the new and the old crop are currently on the market, and they are still similar in terms of quality. In a few weeks, the quality of the new crop will be better. At present, most importers are making a very low profit. In the coming weeks, the price will go up, but it will not be by much and it won’t happen quickly.
Netherlands: new Chinese ginger harvest arrived. Too early = too wet
2017 will apparently not be an exceptional year for ginger; however, Trump becoming new president of the US could throw a spanner in the works if more trade barriers with China are introduced. The weather in the Chinese production areas has been quite cold and that has resulted in some damage, although professional warehouses are not affected by this. The quality of the new ginger that is arriving too early is mostly not good. Not until next week will the first ‘full dry air” batches be available in Europe. The price of this new crop, which doesn’t need to be dried in Europe, is typically higher because of a more reliable quality. Sometimes, even after drying, the wet ginger remains undesirably wet and this can lead to rotting. This ginger will then be offered at lower prices.
Imported ginger on the French market arrives mainly from China and reaches a price of 1.85 Euro per kilo. Moreover, there is also organic ginger available, which is considerably more expensive. The price of organic ginger stands at approximately 3.60 Euro per kilo, but can reach up to 6.25 Euro per kilo.
Polish market grows
The conditions of the ginger market in Poland are largely determined by the situation in the Netherlands. In recent weeks, many traders thought that there would be a shortage, so they kept product in storage. Ultimately, the quality of that ginger was not optimal, which put downward pressure on prices. For the companies that buy relatively little ginger, a few pallets per month, this is not too bad. For companies that had acquired larger volumes, the problem was bigger. According to Polish traders, Chinese speculators also play a role in the global market, creating uncertainty about the size of the volume in stock.
Four years ago, when ginger had only recently been introduced onto the Polish market, the market was small, but in the last few years it has recorded a noticeable growth. With this growing demand, the consumer has also changed. While in the beginning the most decisive factor was the price, consumers are now looking more at the quality. For their part, supermarkets are also raising the bar higher. At present, there is still a lot of the older crop available, but a critical eye can easily find flaws on those products. There are also supplies from Brazil and Thailand, but the only way to compete with the Chinese is with prices, and the ginger from those countries is between 10 and 20% more expensive than the Chinese.
Israel: expensive domestic product
Ginger is a popular product and is available in almost every supermarket. The popularity of ginger amongst Israeli consumers is down to two reasons: firstly, the focus of Israelis on healthy food, and secondly, the strong influence of Asian cuisine.
The bulk of the imported ginger comes from Thailand and other Asian countries with which trade agreements have been signed. The price remains stable at around 2.50 Euro per kilo. If there is also local product available, prices may rise due to import tariffs. The local production is small, with a few dozen farmers in central Israel being mostly responsible for it. The product is usually cultivated in greenhouses. Ginger is a sensitive crop and prices for the local product can go as high as 20 Euro per kilo.
Peruvian acreage drops
Despite the good harvest in the 2016/2017 season, Peruvian growers have found it difficult to sell the product. The ginger harvest will come to an end this month, but the rain is hampering the process. The new season will start in May. The production is expected to drop by 30% because of the lower acreage. Due to the difficult market conditions, many growers are switching to products that they can sell more easily.
US: Better quality from Peru and Brazil
The majority of the ginger in the US market is imported from China, with smaller volumes imported also from Brazil, Costa Rica and Peru. An importer working with Brazilian ginger affirms that this has a better quality than the Chinese. The Brazilian season starts with baby ginger in May. The harvest is completed in June. Conventional ginger is harvested between July and December. This year, a smaller harvest is expected. The low prices paid in the previous season motivated many growers to grow other crops. Besides the Brazilian supply, imports also arrive from Peru. That country is specialised in organic ginger cultivation. Typically, this ginger is smaller and has a more intense flavour than the Chinese. Although both Latin American countries cannot compete in terms of prices with the Chinese supply, their quality is better, according to a trader.