Shanghai wine imports suffer in first half of 2014

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The average price of imported wines to Shanghai, a major gateway to the mainland China market, have continued to fall in the first half of 2014, according to customs figures.

Image: Shanghai Customs House

For the six months to the end of June, wine imports to Shanghai totalled 54.9m litres with a value of CNY2.57bn ($420M). That is a drop of 10.9% and 27% respectively versus the same period of 2013.

While the Chinese government’s austerity policies continue to hit the top-end of the imported wine market, many importers have told DecanterChina.com they expect the middle and lower tiers of the market to grow as wine becomes a mainstream purchase for more households.

The Shanghai figures show that the imported wines market as a whole remains in a difficult period, although there is some evidence of the trading down forecast by importers.

The value of imports fell faster than volume in the first half of 2014. There was an 18% decrease in the average price of imported wines, to CNY46.7 per litre. In June alone, the average price was even lower, at CNY35.4 per litre.

Shanghai customs said 70% of wine imported through its ports came from the European Union, with French wine accounting for 26.5m litres, down by 18.5% compared to the same period of last year. Australian wine imports were down by 24.8%, to 5.3m litres.

Among all major wine producing countries, only Chilean wines bucked the trend, with the imports up 1.6% to 5.46m litres. This may reflect tax concession via the China-Chile Free Trade Agreement, which is expected to abolish tariffs on Chilean wine imports altogether next year.

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