Severe frost damage during the growing season has hit Argentinian fruit exports.

Exports were set to fall 4% to 750,000 tonnes as a result of the unusually cold winter, according to a United States Department of Agriculture report.

The report said deciduous fruit crops were expected to be 6% down. The apple crop was expected to fall 9% to 990,000 tonnes, with production of Red Delicious plummeting 30%. This would lead to a knock-on effect of less concentrated apple juice being made as less fruit would be available, said the report. Pear production was down 4% to 700,000, but table grape production had risen 7% to 150,000 tonnes.

Poorer fruit quality will also lead to a reduction in pear exports this year.

The EU is the largest market for Argentinian fruit, accounting for almost half of all exports, with the UK a leading importer.

Citrus fruit crops were also in short supply and one UK importer warned that higher prices were probable.