Reluctant buyers as spot price falls back

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Prices are on the way down, but there is disagreement in the market on how much prices will actually fall. 

“Nothing concrete, apart from prices falling,” a salmon exporter told Salmon Business when we asked about price expectations for next week.

Facts

Salmon Business collects spot prices for salmon every Friday after lunch. These are fish to be delivered the following week. Here we contact several members of the value chain, including fish farmers, exporters and importers. We always have at least five independent sources, although not all sources are necessarily displayed on print. We vary which sources we use, and do not use the same sources each time.

“I have never had a week where I know as little as I do right now. But prices are on the way down and there are lots of fish left in the market,” said another salmon exporter.

Concerned about further price drop
An hour later we talked to the same exporter.

“Still a lot of fish unsold, and still falling below €5.33 in Oslo. Many industrial players who have purchased in the last week and now have fish for production until Friday next week. In any case, no opportunity to see them take fresh fish before midweek delivery. There’s not a lot of activity yet in the Far East, since the holiday week. Many have suffered losses this week and are worried about a continued drop in prices,” he said.

He said in the market they discussed the following range:

2-3 kilos NOK 43-44 kroner
3-4 kilos NOK 46-48 kroner
4-5 kilos NOK 47-50 kroner
5-6 kilos NOK 48-51 kroner
6+ kilos NOK 48-51 kroner

He also said there are attempts to slash NOK 1 off these prices.

“It’s uncertain yes, but in the market we’re seeing prices corresponding to NOK 47 to farmers of 3-6 [kilos] fish at the moment.  I have little faith in the prices going up, NOK 47-48 should be the maximum price. I have not bought anything yet,” said another exporter.

Lots of big salmon
There are also reports of a lot of big fish in the market.

“It was a very difficult week for exporters, with low prices. We pick up more fish than we sell, so the price will of course be low. We expect the same next week. There are a lot of big fish on the market. There are plenty of fish left over all the time. This is particularly true of 5+ kilo. There will be little change in that,” said an exporter.

He says even though it was expected, it still creates frustration.

“What’s going on is not quite unexpected. All the exporters are equally frustrated and equally at risk. Customers only get lower and lower prices. There is a lot of pressure on customers. There is a fight ahead, as we see it.”