Feverish Brussels-week demand drives salmon prices over €7

Aslak Berge

Atlantics are tearing up the marketplace

“I’ve tried at the 72 level (kroner price range for 3-6 kilogram fish sizes) in the south, but so far no response. We might get higher than that — 6-plus (kg sizes) are even higher,” an exporter told SalmonBusiness.

“We bought at 66 to 67 kroner last week, so that’s a good increase,” he said, before pointing to next week’s four harvest days and limited supply as the likely explanation.

The market picture following the yearly seafood expo in Brussels is clear: demand for salmon is red-hot.

“After three days in Brussels — and I’ve been going there for 20 years — it’s the first time I couldn’t see any other stands. I ran between the washroom visits and my own meetings. I never even got a chance to see the Grand Place. That there was a real driver, especially from China and Asia,” said the head of sales at a north-Norwegian salmon farmer.

That market pressure has spread immediately to the spot market. The salmon price for next week has shot up well over EUR 7.00.

“We’ve sold two transports at 72.50 to 73 kroner (EUR 7.50 to 7.55) of the 4-5 (kg size) and 5-6, and 73.50 to 74.50 kroner (EUR 7.61 to 7.71), again the 4-5 and 5-6.”

Fever pitch
“It’s moving. It could still go higher. We talked about it — when Brussels week stays this good and we arrive at a four-day production week, then we’ll go well up into the seventies (or well over EUR 7). And that’s what has happened. But, where it’ll stop nobody knows. It’s red-hot, even now,” the salmon seller said.

He said he believes the whole of May will see high salmon prices.

“We get four weeks of holidays in a row in Norway. May looks good. There aren’t so many fish of this generation, here.”

For processors, that means shortages and pricier fish.

“I don’t know how high it’s going. But, there’ll be an increase. There isn’t much fish. But, as a warning, in Poland there are just three working days (next week). May 1st is Labour Day in all of Europe and Thursday’s Poland’s national day,” a fish buyer commented.

“An offer has just come in on the ticker. Delivery Poland. When I calculate for Norway, it’s at 73 to 74 kroner (EUR 7.55 to 7.66). I think that’s a bit high. I bet it’ll settle at a kroner or two lower by the end of the day. We’ll see.”

Regardless, it’s a noticeable rise.

“Yes. That’s what we were expecting would come the past few days. The whole of May — four weeks in a row with four days of harvesting. Even if the price comes down again, I believe in higher prices through May.”

Another newly returned and tired Brussels traveller reported much of the same.

“The conference this year was intense. The atmosphere was positive compared to earlier years. There was great optimism. Obviously, they think the price is too high when it passes seven euro, but no one is expecting lower prices from now on. Busy as hell, but very useful.”

He said he sees prices between EUR 7.25 to 7.71.

“The big fish are a little more pressed. There have been a lot of big fish from north-Norway recently. The fly-out market isn’t that big,” he commented.


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