Best ever first quarter for Norwegian seafood exports


April 5, 2019 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Aquaculture News,News-Europe



Norway exported 640,000 tonnes of seafood with an export value of NOK 25.6 billion in the first quarter of 2019. This represents is a decline in volume of 18 per cent but a growth in value of 7 per cent or NOK 1.8 billion measured against the first quarter of 2018. The volume decline was just 2% when the pelagic category is excluded from the statistics.

“The volume decline in the pelagic category is due to lack of capelin this year, in addition to delays in the reporting of blue whiting from direct landings abroad”, says seafood analyst Paul T. Aandahl with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

“The value of seafood exports in the first quarter have reached a record high. This is mainly driven by increased prices for several of our most important species. There are good, stable market conditions, increased demand in our key markets, and a weak Norwegian kroner against both the US dollar and the euro sets a record price for seafood exports”, says seafood analyst Ingrid K. Pettersen with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Norway exported 205,400 tonnes of seafood at a value of NOK 9.1 billion in March. This is a decline in volume of 36 per cent and an increase in value of 1 per cent or NOK 89 million compared with March last year.

Strong growth for salmon

Norway exported 247,000 tonnes of salmon with a value of NOK 16.7 billion in the first quarter. This represents an increase of 1 per cent measured in volume, and an increase in export value of NOK 1.1 billion or 7 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2018. The average price for fresh whole salmon increased from NOK 67.45 to NOK 68.78 per kg. Poland, France and Denmark were the largest export markets for Norwegian salmon in the first quarter.

“We have seen a 5% lift in EU exports and a 20% rise in US exports, compared with the same period last year. The export value of fresh salmon filets to the US increased by 58 per cent. This is driven by a volume growth of 13 per cent and a price increase of 40 per cent. Growth in exports of fillet products, especially to the US market, have led to processed salmon now accounting for 20 per cent of the export value for salmon, compared with 18 per cent in the first quarter of 2018. At the same time, the dollar has risen 10% against the Norwegian kroner compared to its level during the same period in 2018, which favours dollar market exports, compared with exports to euro markets” says Paul T. Aandahl.

In March, 83,000 tonnes of salmon were exported with a value of NOK 6 billion. This represents a volume decrease of 4 per cent, while export value remains at the same level as in 2018.

Trout exports rise

Norway exported 11,100 tonnes of trout worth NOK 775 million during the first quarter. Export volumes increased by 13 per cent, and export value increased by NOK 137 million or 22 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2018. The United States, Belarus and Thailand were our largest markets for Norwegian trout in the first quarter.

“In much the same way as we have seen for salmon, exports of filleted trout products have risen. The export volume of fresh trout fillets increased by 176 per cent, and frozen trout fillet exports increased by 147 per cent. Processed trout now accounts for 32 per cent of the total export value, compared with just 19 per cent in 2018”, says Paul T. Aandahl.

In March, 3,600 tonnes of trout were exported with a value of NOK 270 million. The volume fell by 2 per cent, however export value increased by NOK 22 million or 9 per cent.

Fresh cod volumes decline – exports of frozen cod see sharp gains in value

Norway exported 25,200 tonnes of fresh cod, including skrei, with a value of NOK 1.1 billion in the first quarter. This is a decrease in volume of 22 per cent, and a fall in value of NOK 100 million or 9 per cent. Of this, skrei accounted for 5,000 tonnes, which represents an increase of 18 per cent. Norway exported skrei worth NOK 228 million in the first quarter, an increase of NOK 63 million or 38 per cent compared with the same period last year. Denmark, Poland and the Netherlands were the export markets for fresh cod in the first quarter.

“Reduced quotas and a prolonged period of bad weather mean that less raw material has been brought to market. This is evident in the figures for fresh cod exports. The exception is the export of fresh, whole skrei; With one month left in the season, this year has already seen skrei exports surpass 2018 totals. The market price for skrei is currently NOK 45.30 per kg. This is the same price as fresh whole salmon achieved 4-5 years ago. This shows that once again Norwegian products have managed to differentiate themselves in the market and provides evidence that good quality is valued”, says seafood analyst Ingrid K. Pettersen with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

In March, 11 800 tonnes of fresh cod were exported with value of NOK 481 million. Skrei represented 2,300 tonnes of the total, with a value of NOK 98 million. This represents an increase in volume of 24 per cent, and an increase in value of NOK 30 million or 43 per cent.

Norway exported 25,600 tonnes of frozen cod worth NOK 1.1 billion in the first quarter. This represents an 17 per cent increase in volume, and an increase in value of NOK 305 million or 40 per cent from the same period last year. China, the UK and Lithuania were the largest importers of frozen cod in the first quarter of 2019.

“The increase in exports of frozen whole cod is probably due to changes in inventories. We have seen an increase of 69 per cent in exports to the UK compared with last year. Uncertainty about continuing access to fish in the wake of Brexit may be a part of the explanation”, says Ingrid K. Pettersen.

In March, 8,800 tonnes of frozen cod were exported with a total value of NOK 381 million. This represents an increase in volume of 36 per cent, and a lift in value of NOK 151 million or 66 per cent. 

Gains for clipfish

Norway exported 25,000 tonnes of clipfish with a value of NOK 1.1 billion in the first quarter. This is an increase in volume of 17 per cent, while the value increased by NOK 154 million or 17 per cent. Brazil, Portugal and the Dominican Republic were the main export markets for clipfish in the first quarter.

“Exports of cod clipfish fell by 1 per cent compared to last year, while prices are significantly higher. For saithe clipfish, we see a significant growth in volume of 27 per cent so far this year, while the average price is on a par with last year. We have seen growth every month, especially in February. Brazil has been the biggest growth market, but there is also strong growth in exports to West Africa and Jamaica”, says seafood analyst Ingrid K. Pettersen

“Weak price developments for saithe and a weak kroner against the dollar are important factors underpinning growth in Central and West Africa. In addition, a more stable political situation following elections in Congo can also help to explain growth”, says Trond Kostveit, Country Director with the Norwegian Seafood Council in West Africa.

In March, 6 400 tonnes of clipfish were exported with a value of NOK 285 million. This represents an increase of 1 per cent in volume, and an increased of NOK 6.6 million or 2 per cent in value.

Saltfish exports are down

Norway exported 6,500 tonnes of salted fish with a value of NOK 358 million in the first quarter. This represents a decrease in volume of 24 per cent, and a drop in value of NOK 67 million or 16 per cent. Portugal, Greece and Spain were our main export markets for salted fish in the first quarter.

“The first quarter of 2019 has seen the lowest salted fish export volumes since 2009 when we were in the middle of a financial crisis and when difficult market conditions made it difficult to secure export markets for salted fish. This year, reduced access to raw materials is probably the main reason for the lower levels of exports this year, together with high first-hand prices, which entails increased risk. Normally, March, April and May are the months when the most salted fish is exported, so there is still time for exports to pick up somewhat”, says seafood analyst Ingrid K. Pettersen.

In March 2019, 4,100 tonnes of salted fish were exported with a value of NOK 233 million. This is a decrease in volume of 24 per cent, while the value fell by NOK 42 million or 15 per cent.

Dried fish exports gain

Norway exported 1,000 tonnes of whole stockfish worth NOK 207 million in the first quarter. This is a decrease in volume of 17 per cent, while export values increased by NOK 9 million or 5 per cent. Italy, Nigeria and Croatia were our main saltfish markets in the first quarter.

“After a year of weak price development for cod stockfish, the year started with a 25 per cent rise in prices compared to last year. As expected, export volumes have fallen this year due to an unusually cold winter and so lower volumes of fish available for drying last year”, says seafood analyst Ingrid K. Pettersen.

Herring and mackerel exports see gains

Norway exported 106,000 tonnes of herring to a value of NOK 851 million during the first quarter. This is an increase in volume of 20 per cent, and an increase in value of NOK 100 million or 13 per cent. Egypt, Lithuania and Poland were the main markets for Norwegian herring in the first quarter.

“In 2019, exports of frozen herring fillet, especially to the German market, have reduced. At the same time, exports of frozen whole herring to Egypt have increased. A change in the product mix for herring exports has contributed to the average price for herring falling from NOK 8.52 per kg the first quarter of 2018 to NOK 8.01 per kg in 2019″, says Paul T. Aandahl.

In March, 32,000 tonnes of herring were exported with a value of NOK 277 million. This is an increase in volume of 18 per cent, and an increase in export value of NOK 78 million or 39 per cent.

Norway exported 51,300 tonnes of mackerel to a value of NOK 861 million in the first quarter. This is a decrease in volume of 1 per cent, while export value increased by NOK 207 million or 32 per cent. China, South Korea and Japan were the largest markets for Norwegian mackerel in the first quarter.

“The price increases are a consequence of the expected decline in the supply of mackerel in 2019, and have contributed to record export values for mackerel in the first quarter. The uncertainty surrounding Brexit has led to the mackerel fishing in the British zone has been implemented earlier than during the same period in 2018. This has contributed to increased volumes delivered to Norway in 2019 compared to the same period last year”, says Paul T. Aandahl.

In March, 13,000 tonnes of mackerel were exported with a value of NOK 227 million. This is a decrease in volume of 8 per cent, while export value increased by NOK 39 million or 21 per cent. 

King crab and prawns both see improvements

Norway exported 522 tonnes of king crab with a value of NOK 159 million in the first quarter. This is an increase in volume of 17 per cent, while the value increased by NOK 34 million or 27 per cent. South Korea, the United States and Spain were the largest recipients of king crab in the first quarter.

“South Korean consumers has a long standing tradition of a mix between frozen, fresh and live seafood. South Korea has a vast array of seafood specialised restaurants with facilites for live seafood storage, and most of the king crab is eaten in restaurants here. The demand for Norwegian seafood is strong, both in general and for the king crab, with the latter having an increasing market share here”, says Country Director of South Korea, Gunvar Wie, with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

3,600 tonnes of prawns were exported with a value of NOK 269 million. For prawns, the volume increase was 81 per cent, while export value has increased by NOK 104 million or 63 per cent during the first quarter. The largest export markets were Sweden, the UK and Finland.

“The export volumes for Sweden are on a par with last year, while there was considerable growth for both the UK and Finland, both in price and volume. Lower supply globally, especially from Canada, combined with a high global demand explains the increase in prices”, says Ingrid K. Pettersen.