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China in the first quarter of 2019 wine imports to -20.19%. Italy drops 25.7%

Amedeo Scarpa (director of Ice Beijing): “a phenomenon that involves everyone, the market does not consume as much as it could”
China, the first quarter of 2019 in decline

The decline of wine imports in China continues, where, in the first three months of 2019 (January-March), the minus sign is the volumes, at 156 million liters, -22.3% over the same period of 2018 (200 million liters), that the values, collapsed to 782 million dollars, against 980 million dollars in the first quarter of 2018 (-20.19%), as reported by China Customs, the Chinese government agency that collects and analyzes data on trade between the Dragon and the rest of the world, processed by the Ice - Foreign Trade Institute of Beijing led by Amedeo Scarpa. A dynamic that confirms the difficulties on the largest market in the world, and that spares no one: on the contrary, to come out better, at least relatively, is Italy, which limits the postponement to -25.7%, equal to 41.3 million dollars of wine exported in the first quarter of 2019, while in the period January-March 2018, when shipments traveled with the wind in the stern, it reached 55.64 million dollars. Worse are both Spain (-32%, to 36.02 million dollars) and, above all, France (-30.88%, to 195.02 million dollars, from 282.13 a year ago). They limit the damage, but do not change the trend, not even Australia and Chile, strong trade agreements with zero duties on wine exports, but which still record a decline, respectively, of -11.43% (to 197.83 million dollars), and -6.74% (90.07 million dollars).
These naked truth data, as the director of Ice Beijing, Amedeo Scarpa, points out to WineNews, “comment on themselves, confirming a market that still does not drink imported wine as much as it could. And it is certainly not a phenomenon that only concerns Italy, on the contrary, it would be confusing to read it like this. It involves France, followed by Spain, but also best performers such as Australia (the real revelation on the Chinese market in 2018) and Chile, which also boast preferential bilateral trade agreements (zero customs tariff on wine) with China. Despite this - continues Scarpa - we have recorded among the same stakeholders of Italian wine in China a widespread optimism about market stability and expected the trend for the total year 2019.
In short, Italian attention and expectations on this market do not seem to fall, despite this evident and certified slowdown for all the main foreign suppliers”. A decline that is linked to a series of causes. First of all, the tensions between the U.S. and China, which threaten the confidence of importers who, after three years of growth in purchases, have to deal with full warehouses and stocks to dispose of. Another problem concerns a generational passage that is anything but simple: those born in the 1990s still do not have enough purchasing power to really weigh, while the frequency of consumption decreases among the previous generations. It should also be noted that wine consumption in the northern Chinese market has fallen, which is particularly evident, due to a lack of wine culture that has led many consumers to return to their old habits, and therefore to spirits. On the contrary, as a positive element, it should be remembered that key cities such as Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Fujian. Finally, the appreciation of the renminbi, the Chinese currency, against both the euro and the dollar.

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