The amount of wine entering Mainland China through Shanghai, a key route into the country for foreign producers, dropped by 17.7% in volume in the first three months of 2014, according to customs statistics.
Image: Shanghai Customs House
Shanghai imported 26.48m litres of wines for the calendar quarter to the end of March. The value of imported wines fell more steeply, by 29.6% versus the same period of 2013 to CNY1.23bn, whilst the average price paid by importers dropped by 14.4% to CNY46.4 per litre.
Shanghai is the biggest entry point for wines imported into Mainland China, according to a recent market report by China Food and Drinks Fair (CFDF, also known as Tangjiuhui), which analysed customs data.
Wine imports have struggled for momentum in China in the past few months because of the austerity measures policy led by the government. Some companies have suggested it will take several more months to drain existing stocks sitting in warehouses.
However, Shanghai customs statistics also show that the volume of imported wines in March alone increased by 48.8% versus February, reaching 8.3m litres. This represents the first month-on-month rise since last July. But, the average price of wine imported continued to fall compare to the same period in last year.
Wines shipped from the European Union, which accounted for 70% of the wines imported to Shanghai, dropped by 15.1% in volume in the first quarter. Among the major wine-producing countries, imports of French wines decreased by 26% in volume, whilst imports of Chilean and Australian wines fell by 5.2% and 32.9% respectively.