Salmon exports to processing giant Poland are plummeting

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At the beginning of 2022, Poland has radically reduced its purchases.

For a number of years, Poland has been Norway’s largest buyer of salmon. Queues of semi-trailers have been sent to the large processing plants in Morpol, Suempol, Milarex and Limito. But at the beginning of 2022, Poland has radically reduced its purchases. In fact, Polish importers have contented themselves with half, 54 per cent to be precise, of the fish volumes they had traded at the same time last year. As of week five, Poland has imported 10,030 tonnes of salmon from Norway.

France has thus surpassed Poland in export statistics, and is now Norway’s largest salmon buyer.

High price
There are several reasons why Poland has cut its purchases so sharply. Price is a key factor. One kilo of salmon is traded this week at well over €7 euros. It is historically high for the season.

“At the prices here, they (Polish processing plants) do not get their prices back (by resale – editor’s note). They are greatly reducing, very many factories. A lot of fish is based on contracts around NOK 60 (€6) to the farmer, for the whole year, 6.20-6.30 euros. It is clear that there is a significant difference when you are up to eight euros,” an exporter told SalmonBusiness recently.

A fish farmer who normally sells some fish to Poland put it this way:

“They use a lot of frozen fish, bought in the autumn, but there is not as much frozen stock as was thought. It is limited how much they have and how long they can use it. As soon as they have to, they will buy fresh again.”

Discount
Poles are not known for over-paying for salmon.

Last week, they shopped for salmon at an average export price of NOK 68.76 per kilo (€6.80) – almost NOK 6 lower than what most others paid for the salmon. The export statistics do not differentiate between spot price and contract price.

In comparison, China paid as much as NOK 100.12 (€10) per kilo for the 750 tonnes of fresh salmon that were imported from Norway. Due to covid measures, China sets special requirements for hand-packed salmon in plastic bags, which few of the large Norwegian packing plants offer.