Surge in demand for large salmon as Chinese New Year celebrations expand beyond China

by
Aslak Berge

Salmon prices in 2024 have been remarkably stable, hovering around the NOK 100 mark, with this trend likely to continue into the upcoming week.

“This week’s sales were tough,” an exporter told SalmonBusiness. “I don’t see any major shifts in prices on the horizon for next week. Sure, there are some pushing for an increase, but I doubt it’ll be significant.”

Referring to mid-range pricing, the exported noted: “Moving the 5-6 kilogram category has been challenging, they’re tough to sell at these high prices.”

Despite occasionally rough weather, logistics are running smoothly. “I don’t think that’s a problem,” he said.

“Prices for smaller salmon, under 3 kilograms, are holding steady. The 3-5 kilogram range is seeing a slight increase. But this week, 5+ kilograms have been a nightmare – those prices need to come down,” a buyer told SalmonBusiness.

He quoted the following prices to the farmer: 92-93 NOK ($8.83/€8.10) for 3-4 kg, 96-97 NOK ($9.22/€8.45) for 4-5 kg, 102-103 NOK ($9.79/€8.97) for 5-6 kg, and 110 NOK ($10.56/€9.68) for 6+ kg for Europe.

“We’re seeing a surprising dip in the consumption of lower-quality fish compared to the estimates,” he added.

A consensus on stable prices emerged from several sources. “I’m betting on stability. There’s a wave of larger, 5+ kilogram salmon coming in next week, so hiking prices now could be risky,” an exporter warned.

“The outlook’s a bit hazy. Prices for 5+ kilograms are inching up, but sales are still slow,” a farmer commented.

Chinese New Year

For the Chinese New Year, another farmer pointed to rising prices but noted he hasn’t sold anything yet. “We have relatively little to sell, but we hear in the market quite a good rise for 3-4 kg – 98 NOK ($9.41/€8.62), 4-5 kg at 110 NOK ($10.56/€9.68), and 5-6 kg at 120-125 NOK ($11.52-12.00/€10.56-11.00) in Europe. We’re going out with 100, 110, and 128 NOK ($9.60, $10.56, $12.29/€8.80, €9.68, €11.26) for 3-6 kg.”

“In China, prices for 6+ kg are at 140 NOK ($13.44/€12.32). It’s full speed for the Chinese New Year, of course. It seems like there are quite a few with fish going into China. The large fish market is quite a marginal market, isolated, and can crash if it closes,” he remarked.

“Take the 4-5 kilogram category at NOK 110, that’s a healthy jump from NOK 104 last Friday,” he pointed out.

He stressed the demand for larger salmon. “Chinese New Year isn’t just celebrated in China. It’s a big deal in several countries, and next week, week five, is going to be crucial for markets like China, South Korea, and Singapore,” he concluded.

SalmonBusiness gathers spot prices for salmon every Friday after lunch, tracking fish to be delivered the following week. This process involves contacting multiple entities in the value chain, including farmers, exporters, and importers. At least five independent sources are consulted, though they may not always be publicly disclosed.

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