Increasing inventories strengthen salmon buyers’ bargaining power – and push the price down

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There has not been lower prices for farmed Atlantic salmon in four years.

“There are too much fish. Now it’s the customers who have the power. There is nothing more to say than that,” says a salmon trader to SalmonBusiness.

He is not very excited.

“3-4 kroner (€ 0.3-0.4) down from last Friday. A lot of fish is being frozen. Inventories are getting larger. There will soon be no more room in the freezer stores in Norway,” he says, before adding: “And then the feeding is also high.”

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 in print. We vary the sources we use and do not use the same sources each time.

“We really struggle to take out enough fish. We are left with some trucks today. Now we have to go out and do an old craft: To sell the fish. We haven’t done that in four years.”

Other traders see the same development.

“I’m not sure how the (frozen) inventory situation in Europe is at the moment. It must be absorbed, the quantities being slaughtered,” says one exporter, adding that he is “worried”.

“Fish are left here and there. And outside (in the market) you don’t get any prices yet,” says another. “We’re waiting. I don’t think so much is done so far today.”

«Sold on 42/44/48. Have only a small quantity, and sold all the fish on this,” writes a salesman at a fish farming company in Western Norway in a text message to SalmonBusiness.

SalmonBusiness’ other five industry sources are operating with the following farmgate price levels for the most traded weight classes for next week’s delivery:

  • 3-4 kilograms NOK 38-40 (€3.8-4.0)
  • 4-5 kilograms NOK 40-42 (€4.0-4.2)
  • 5-6 kilograms NOK 42-44 (€4.2-4.4)

This means that the average salmon price has stayed for two months below € 5/kilogram. This represents a significantly weaker development than achieved in the same period in the last three years, which is most comparable to this year.