According to EastFruit analysts, the situation on the European vegetable market in the first half of 2019 was very favorable for Russian producers and exporters, which allowed Russia to become one of the largest onion exporters in the region.
In particular, in the first seven months of 2019, Russia exported 45.2 thousand Tons of onions (35.5 thousand Tons, excluding deliveries to territories temporarily out of Ukraine's control). This is almost four times more than in the same period last year, when Russia exported onions only to Donbass, Georgia, Mongolia and Turkmenistan.
In 2019, Serbia became the main onion market from Russia, including due to the favorable logistic exchanges - from Moldova, apples went to Russia and the other side of the car returned with onions.
"In the first half of 2019, prices of onions in the European Union broke all records due to the catastrophic weather conditions in the summer of 2018. Then the drought in the most important onion producing countries in the EU led to a sharp decrease in the yield of onion and other vegetables. This concerned the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and other EU countries, as well as those that are not yet members of the European Union. At the same time, the conditions for growing onions in Russia were favorable, which allowed Russia to export the first major quantities of onions to EU countries, "says Andrei Yarmak, economist at the FAO Investment Department.
Two EU countries - Romania and Poland, took third and fourth place in the ranking of the largest onion buyers from Russia. Interestingly, Poland was one of the largest onion exporters to Russia before the start of Russian sanctions, but last year onion prices were record high.
Over a thousand tons of Russian onions were exported during the first seven months of 2019. Also to each of the following countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus and almost a thousand tons to Turkey. Onion importers from Russia were also Georgia, Iraq, Northern Macedonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Mongolia, Slovakia, Libya and even Greece.
However, such a sharp increase in onion exports did not cause Russia to become a net exporter. As before, onion imports into the country significantly exceeded the volume of exports. In the first seven months of 2019, 162,000 were imported to the Russian Federation. Tons of onions - 26% more than in the corresponding period of 2018, but much less than in 2017. Ie. Onion imports to Russia were still four and a half times higher than exports during a certain period.
The main suppliers of onions to Russia were Egypt and China, which accounted for over 58% of all deliveries. According to official statistics, large quantities of onions were also imported into Russia from Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Turkey, India and Kyrgyzstan.
At present, onion prices in Russia, despite the latest harvest, are still rising rapidly, which allows market participants to consider the possibility of intensifying imports from Central Asia: currently Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. According to EastFruit price monitoring, you can now buy onions in Russia at a price of 14 rubles / kg (22 US cents per kg) - 17% more than the year before when farmers sold an average of 12 rubles / kg (19 US cents per kg) .
Onions were thought to continue to rise in the market. Although now onion prices in Russia have exceeded the price level in Ukraine. However, they are still significantly lower than the level of onion prices in the European Union. In particular, in Poland, onions are sold on average at 30 US cents per kg. But in Uzbekistan today you can buy onions for up to 10 US cents per kg - there is serious overproduction, but the price difference between the markets of Russia and Uzbekistan is still insufficient to stimulate the export of Uzbek onions in this direction.