Chinese import restrictions hit salmon prices

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Increased supplies of large salmon and import restrictions, linked to Covid-19, to the Chinese market present challenges in placing fish at favorable prices.

“They are weakening, the prices. And they will weaken a little going forward,” said an importer to SalmonBusiness.

He mentioned the seasonal weakening of prices that occurs every late summer and early autumn.

Facts

Every Friday after lunch, SalmonBusiness report spot prices for salmon. These are fish to be delivered the following week. We contact several links in the value chain, including farmers, exporters and importers, and always have at least five independent sources, although not all sources are necessarily displayed. We vary the sources we use and do not use the same sources each time.

“Today it is probably 4+ kg that gets the hardest hit. The larger sizes are approaching the 3-4 kg price level. That is probably the case,” he continued.

Flatten out
“It will probably flatten out pretty soon. I look at the prices I have received from Norway, the gap is getting smaller and smaller. Some say it is around 20-30 cents between 4-5 up to 5-6 and 5-6 up to 6-7.”

He himself trades mostly fish of the so-called industrial sizes, three to six kilos.

“I hear from 51 kroner (EUR 4.9) and up. Some say 51, 52 and 53 kroner (EUR 4.9, 5.0 and 5.1), others say higher,” said the importer.

“There is no market for a lot of big fish in Europe. They can not redistribute so much fish from China without lowering prices.”

Lots of big fish
A trader SalmonBusiness has spoken to referred to farmgate prices of NOK 52, 54 and 56 (EUR 5.0, 5.2 and 5.4) for the most traded sizes, which speaks for fairly stable prices.

Another source refers to prices a slightly below that level.

“There are a lot of big fish, so the big fish has got a hit. China does not take anything. It is completely closed,” he said.

“One may have a desire for 50, 51 and 52 kroner, but we know there is a difference between wishful thinking and analysis,” said another exporter and refers to prices between NOK 52 and 53.

“There is good growth [in the sea] and the fish quickly grows large,” he said and pointed to a closed China market as a challenge.

Demand
“It was more down than it is right now. We have started selling at 54, 56 and 58 kroner (EUR 5.2, 5.4 and 5.6) at 3-6 kilos. The biggest question is 5-6,” said one fish farmer.

“I am surprised that more people do not export more to the US. The demand in the US is very, very good,” he said, and pointed out that especially Icelandic farmers have taken advantage of this opportunity.