“We’re looking at a correction”

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“We have our skepticism this autumn and we see no reason to be less skeptical about how it will be in 2018,” said Sparebank 1 Markets’ salmon analyst, Tore A. Tonseth, to SalmonBusiness.

50-55 kroner?
We noted December 3rd on the calendar. The fall’s over, and we’re heading for advent and the holiday — fish farmers included. Christmas is when salmon prices are expected to be at their highest.

On Friday, SalmonBusiness readers learned about the season’s strongest price rise. A price (to farmers) of between 49 and 51 kroner for salmon over three kilograms from sources we had talked to.

“We’re going into high season pricewise, and a price ceiling of 50 to 55 kroner is entirely possible. I doubt anything higher than that, and this is the time it really should be at its highest. It’ll affect prices in 2018,” Tonseth said.

Scale-down forecast
Tonseth is crystal clear: “Expectations in the market, and the Fish Pool prognoses, have to come down. If we end up with prices of around 50 at Christmas time, what’ll prices be like in 2018?,” he asked rhetorically.

On Thursday, SalmonBusiness reported that Norway’s never had so many salmon still in their pens. By the end of October, there were 755,000 tonnes of salmon in Norwegian grow-outs.

“Export volume has begun to pick up a bit. I am amazed more (salmon) has been taken out,” said Tønseth.

He cites “exceptionally stronger” growth in 2017 for the amount of (still swimming) salmon. “The main weight of biomass growth derives from the autumn 2016 salmon, as it was a little farther ahead,” he added.

Avoiding price pressure
He said he thinks fish farmers think tactically with prices in the back of their minds.

“Fish farmers think that if you send out more fish you get unwanted price pressure. There’s been an effort to slow down processing lately. Individual farmers cut processing to avoid market pressure. I would have liked to have seen more processing,” he said, adding, “Most of the growth will be in first-half 2018.”