A 10% price increase for Christmas salmon

Aslak Berge

Increasing spot prices mark the last whole week of Christmas shopping.

An outlook of markedly increasing salmon prices set the tone with industry sources SalmonBusiness talked to after lunch on Friday.

“We believe in 48 to 49 kroner for 3 to 4 kilograms, 49 to 50 kroner for 4 to 5 kg and 50 to 52 kroner for 5 kg (fish sizes). That interval, there,” a salmon trade said.

That indicates a clear uptick over last Friday.

“We are around there, but we’re in the upper part of that price range. We have bought at 50 to 51 kroner for 3 to 4 kg,” a buyer at a distribution company said.

It’s the final week before market players slow down the year’s Christmas trade. Now, without exception, is when you fill those fresh food counters.

“We have some extra orders, but it’s only for fresh deliveries, portion packs and that type of thing.

The price rise is around 10 percent — in a week!

“Yeah, something like that. These here weeks are normally strong. We were prices were set go even higher. We have pretty good faith in a drop for the new year. I’m afraid of instability going forward. There’s quite a bit of biomass still in the sea at a time when the new generation (of fish) is growing faster. It’ll just come to the butcher’s table sooner,” he adds.

Wanted: Big Salmon
“I think it’s spiking a lot. It’s hard to put the prices on. I’d be prone to saying it’s hovering in the area of 49 to 52 kroner. The largest sizes are the best-paid for the moment. I haven’t bought any, but we’ve had some offers in that price area,” an exporter tells SalmonBusiness.

That fish prices are rising a bit isn’t in doubt, but exact price levels for next week have not been entirely negotiated.

“I hear they’re going up to 50 to 51 kroner, but people don’t want fish. I’m going ahead and buying leftover fish from this week that’s down 20 percent. There’s no need for speed, people say. Everyone is afraid of being overstocked with fish after next week,” a buyer at a large distributor said.

“It’s pouring out of Chile now. They’re aggressively pushing fish. It’ll be exciting to see what happens next year. There’s a lot of fish out there. I don’t know a dealer who isn’t sitting on a large store. There’s going to be a large overlay of storehouses that’ll join in (the trade) in the first quarter. There’s a lot of fish in storage in the distributor countries and in Norway.”

The great bottleneck and the joker in all this are the large supermarket chains’ high retail prices and their effective dampening effect on end-customer demand for salmon.

“If prices don’t come down in-store, then the downturn will go on a long time. No one is all that thrilled by lowering prices in-store. No one wants to give away their margins. This here is payback time.”

“I have four to five suppliers. All of them want me to take double the volumes, right up to Week 52,” the distributor said.


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