Tight supplies as salmon prices rise to record levels

The highest price level ever for February.

“I hear 75-78 kroner (EUR 7.5-7.8), for three to six kilos. Larger fish are up to NOK 80 (EUR 8),” said an exporter to SalmonBusiness. “Increased share of wounded fish reduces exports that go to the fresh segment.”

“It is like the gas and electricity to Europe – it is the supply that sets the price,” he said.[factbox]

“It is up a couple of kroner,” said another exporter, and mentioned prices between NOK 73 and 77 (EUR 7.3-7.7).

“Customers are starting to refuse. They say they can not afford to pay the price. Some must have fish, but a good number are now starting to give up. They rather pay the fee they get from the supermarket chains to give up.”

“It is tough competition, so we just have to pay what the farmers are offered from others. But it is not sustainable, 75 kroner (EUR 7.5). It does not last long, but we have no alternative.”

“Many exporters are nervous now. There is a lot of money involved,” he said, knowing that a semi-trailer truck will cost EUR 140,000 kroner to fill with salmon.

Among those who reduce their purchases of salmon is the processing powerhouse Poland. The Poles purchased 17,558 tonnes of Norwegian salmon in January – down from 23,779 tonnes in January last year – according to the Norwegian Seafood Council.

“At these prices, they (Polish processing plants – ed. note) do not get their prices back (by resale – ed. note). They are reducing, many factories. A good deal of fish is based on contracts around NOK 60 for fish farmers, for the whole year, EUR 6.20-6.30. It is clear that there is a significant difference when you are up to eight euros,” he pointed out.

“But it is fantastic for the farmers,” he added. “There is clearly less fish in the market.”

Screaming shortage
All five industry sources SalmonBusines has spoken to on Friday point to rising prices.

“It’s a screaming shortage. Many callers who never call otherwise,” said a fish farmer, and pointed to a clear price increase during the day. He referred to the following salmon prices (FOB processing plant in Norway):

  • 3-4 kg 76 kroner (EUR 7.6)
  • 4-5 kg ​​78-79 kroner (EUR 7.8-7.9)
  • 5-6 kg 81 kroner (EUR 8.1)
  • 6-7 kg 83-84 kroner (EUR 8.3-8.4)

However, he is in no hurry to confirm acceptance of their offers.

“Now we are hesitant, because we know what we can sell on. Now it is we who rule here,” he said confidently.

These are the highest salmon prices recorded in February in recent times.

“It is fundamentally strong everywhere. And the biomass is shrinking. Poland has taken 40 percent less from Norway year to date. They use a lot of frozen fish, bought in the autumn, but there is not as much frozen stock as was thought. It is limited how much they have and how long they can use it. Soon they have to buy fresh fish again. We see it in Chile – there is no frozen stock left.”

“It’s almost too good to be true. Because it has never looked so good at this time of year,” he said.


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