US wine exports slip as strong dollar, shipping issues bite - figures

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Export volumes of US wine rose slightly last year, but sales by value fell 6.5% as the strong dollar took its toll, according to latest figures. 

Volumes sold in calendar 2014 climbed 1.7% to 442.7m litres, but sales dipped to US$1.49bn, the Wine Institute (WI) reported. Despite this, it was the second best year for dollar export sales and a 64% increase from five years ago, the group said. 

The industry was “challenged by a strong dollar” and slow shipments from California's West Coast ports, the WI added. The state accounts for 90% of US wine exports. 

The European Union led the way, accounting for $518m of sales. However, shipments to continental Europe were “down slightly”, with the weakening euro being blamed. In the UK, the Wine Institute pointed to a “series of above-inflation duty increases” that have affected wine sales, although wines priced above US$15 saw sales up 30%.  

Canada, the second largest market for US wine exports, saw “strong growth in all major markets”. Japan was the third largest market with $88m of sales, while China and Hong Kong saw wine exports fall in value due to the government's on-going austerity campaign, the body said. 

Sectors: Wine

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