By Owain Johnson

New figures for Chilean wine exports show the industry is suffering the effects of slowing prices, despite increasing export volume.

Chile exported 15.6% more wine by volume in May 2002 than May 2001, but the value of these exports rose just 1.4%.

Wine association Chilevid announced that the sale of 138.4m litres of wine generated US$233.2m in May 2002. In May 2001, the country exported 119.7 million litres, generating US$229.8m.

The Chilean wine industry has been hit by falling prices for shipments of wine in bulk, and in particular for boxed wines. The average price for a 9-litre (12-bottle) winebox fell from US$23.90 to US$22.30 in May, a 7.2% fall.

Chilevid said the results show Chilean producers should focus on producing fine wines with greater added value.

Chile saw sales to Mexico and Canada grow strongly in May, while exports to the USA fell 1.8% and there was no change in the level of European sales.