Salmon price surges over €8

Aslak Berge

Prices reach highest levels in modern times

“I don’t think it’s all settled, yet. I have heard 80 kroner (EUR 8.29), and that salmon farmers have sold that high,” the buyer at a salmon smoker tells SalmonBusiness.

The reason for that? A slim supply-side.

“There isn’t much fish. It’s definitely something to do with availability. There are just four harvest days (due to holidays), but I still think there’s little fish, even if there was another day of harvesting.”

Several industry sources confirm that the EUR 8-limit was being tested on Friday. That means the price record of Christmas 2016 and the first week of 2017 could fall.

“Temporarily, they’re talking about just over 80 kroner (EUR 8.29) — 81 to 82 kroner (EUR 8.40 to 8.50). So, you might start to experience a fear of heights. This here is dangerous,” a trader says.

Other traders have stopped trading. They refuse to bid in an auction.

“We’re not buying. But those who have to buy just have to pay. There’s little fish. Most of it has gone to cover contracts. There’s maybe just 5,000 tonnes for the spot market.”

“It’s destructive for the market. It isn’t good for what makes it farther out there. They’ll be able to control those who will buy at 80 kroner, but we won’t be doing that. We’re losing money on it,” he says, adding ruefully, “The more you have the more you want.”

Others have jumped aboard and bought fish marginally cheaper.

“Not much is locked up. But, the 3-4 (kilogram fish size) is going for 75 to 77 kroner (EUR 7.77 to 7.98), while the 4-plus (kg size) is going at 76 to 78 kroner (EUR 7.88 to 8.08. Some have talked about 80 kroner, but we have the impression that’s integrated companies with direct sales out to the market,” says an exporter.

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“The reaction out in the market is that they’re hurting at these (price) levels. Salmon is among the priciest at the fish counter, apart from turbot, monkfish and Dover sole,” he says.

“There’s acceptance for 6.5 to 7 euro, but when you approach nine euro, like now, it’s hard to gain acceptance in the market. But the rule about supply and demand functions. The cause of this is that supply is low.”