According to EastFruit analysts, after a season of record onion exports to a record number of countries, Ukraine may again become an importer of onions. Moreover, there is a threat of a start of onion imports to Ukraine now, when the harvesting has just finished and the supply of onions on the market remains traditionally the highest for the entire season.
At the moment, wholesale prices for onions in the domestic market are record-breaking for this period of the year. Now the wholesale price for standard-quality onions is stable at the level of 7 UAH/kg ($0.26 per kg) and is 2.3 times higher than last year. At the same time, onions are now sold on average two times cheaper in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan – at $0.12-14 per kg, i.e. approximately as in Ukraine at this time last year.
Even in Russia, where prices for most types of vegetables and potatoes are unusually high this year, onions are cheaper than in Ukraine. In Poland, which is usually one of the main markets for Ukrainian onions, their prices are now identical to those in Ukraine. They have risen only recently, and before that they were noticeably lower.
In Moldova, which now exports potatoes to Ukraine, onion prices are also lower than in Ukraine. Moreover, the price difference is considerable enough to start onion supplies from Moldova to the Ukrainian market right now. Moreover, vegetable growers and traders believe in an increase in onion prices in the second half of the season, and will buy onions from Moldova for storing and, in their opinion, profitable resale in the second half of the season.
Analysts of APK-Inform: Vegetables and Fruits, who are now completing the update of their annual forecast of production and prices for vegetables and fruits in Ukraine in the 2021/22 season, confirm the decline in onion production in the country this year. However, they do not disclose the details of the forecast for growth or decline in prices.
A survey of market participants on our Telegram channel in mid-August 2021 showed that almost 70% of respondents believe in an increase in onion prices in the new season in Eastern Europe. However, so far there is no information on how the production of onion in Central Asia will change. There is a possibility that onion production in this region will decrease as well, since last season onion prices were low and demand from traditional importers was low.
According to the representatives of the wholesale trade, despite the large difference in prices, it is still unprofitable to import onions from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to Ukraine due to high transport costs. However, if onion prices in Ukraine rise by another 10%, imports will become possible.
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