Price highs to linger over Easter

Aslak Berge

With April about to begin, salmon trades at about seven-and-a-half euro

After last week’s price hike, the word is stability or marginally lower spot prices for the week after Easter.

“Just a little, but nothing more than the currency can’t take care of. The (Norwegian) krone was weakened. I don’t see it going more than a krone down, something like that,” a buyer tells SalmonBusiness.

Few fish
That implies these prices for salmon-farmers: EUR 7.8 to 7.9 for the 3-6-kilogram size. And, maybe 10 euro cents more for the 6-plus (kg size). Those who do things by plane surely pay better,” he says. That’s fish that’ll deliver to the market next week.

In order to explain price levels on par with the year’s best, the buyer points to the supply side.

“Four harvest days and a little less volume. Quite a few packing plants have closed.”

When SalmonBusiness confronts him with supermarket prices of between EUR 13 and 17 per kilo for fresh cutlets and fillets in Madrid, he says, “That’s cheap and it doesn’t correspond to the in-price.”

Fresh and boneless fillets imply a return down at around 45 percent of the fish. Processing costs, freight and customs, considered, it implies a negative margin at today’s spot prices.

“76, 77, 78 kroner (EUR 7.9, 8, 8.1) on three to six kilos. 80-82 kroner (EUR 8.3 to 8.5) for 6-plus (kg size),” a west-Norwegian salmon-farmer’s head of sales says.

Dangerous play
No all exporters would dare trade a full week at those price levels.

“We’re paying 73 kroner (EUR 7.6) for Tuesday and Wednesday. We’re only buying fish for early in the week. We won’t buy fish for the end of the week. We think the price will slink downwards.”

“Nine days in advance? We have no idea. An earthquake might happen by then. Seventy-five kroner won’t last. There are almost no customers at that price.”

He doesn’t hide his fear of heights when salmon prices get that high.

“It’s all been a dangerous game, all this. You almost get a stomach ache. The risk is too high.”


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