NSC update as of 28 May:
NSC’s seafood analysts Paul Aandahl and Ingrid Kristine Pettersen summarize key features in the development of Norwegian seafood exports so far:
Price increase and decrease in volume for salmon exports
So far this year we see that salmon exports measured in round weight are at the same level as last year, so far this year 454 000 tonnes of salmon have been exported.
There was an 11 percent decrease in exports of fresh whole salmon last week, compared to week 22 last year*. Exports of fresh fillet increased by 17 percent, frozen fillet increased by 54 percent. 21 776 tonnes of salmon were exported last week. This is a 6 percent decrease from week 22 last year.
* Last week it was Christ's Ascension Day, and normally 4 working days so the comparison is with the corresponding week last year, i.e. week 22 2019.
“The price growth for fresh whole salmon continues. The average export price for fresh whole salmon last week was NOK 65.45 per kilo. This is an increase of 6 percent from the same week last year. However, the price is lower than at the same time last year measured in euros," says Paul Aandahl, seafood analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
"For the first time since the corona pandemic outbreak started in Week 9, we see the salmon price exceeding last year's price for the same week," says Aandahl.
"We are seeing a continued positive development in the export of fresh whole salmon to processing markets such as Poland and the Netherlands. The export of fresh salmon fillet helps stabilize exports to key overseas consumer markets such as the United States and Japan and to larger consumer markets in Europe such as France, Aandahl said.
For the US, fresh fillet exports has increased by 57 percent since week 14. After a sharp reduction in shipping capacity to the US from week 12, exports of whole fresh salmon in particular have been challenging.
Continued volume growth and fall in prices for fresh cod
So far this year we see exports of fresh whole cod is on par with last year. In the corona period from week 9 to week 21, exports fell by 6 percent, especially early in the period.
Exports of fresh cod increased by 31 percent last week. In addition to Denmark, which is a traditional reloading market, fresh whole cod was exported to Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden.
So far this year we are seeing a fall in exports of frozen whole cod by 4 percent. However, exports of frozen whole cod increased by 12 percent from week 9 to week 21. Last week, exports of frozen whole cod fell by 30 percent compared to week 21 last year. Exports of frozen fillet, not block, increased by 108 percent in week 21.
“Last week we saw a growth for fresh whole cod, haddock and saithe. Falling demand in the markets has influenced the price development, primarily for fresh products. Despite a very weak Norwegian krone, we see a significant fall in prices measured in NOK. The price is now 6 percent lower than at the same time last year, while the price has fallen by 34 percent from a historically high level in Week 1," says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, seafood analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Still challenging in conventional markets, with some exceptions
So far this year there has been a decrease in exports of salted whole cod and clipfish of cod by 4 percent and 17 percent respectively. In the corona period from week 9, exports of salted whole cod have fallen by 22 percent and cod clipfish by 7 percent.
Exports of salted whole cod increased by 2 percent last week compared to the same week last year, while exports of cod clipfish decreased by 81 percent.
Exports of clipfish of saithe have fallen by 7 percent so far this year. In the corona period, from week 9 to 21, exports increased by 5 percent, and in week 21, exports of clipfish of saithe increased by 58 percent. Congo was the largest market in week 21, followed by the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
"The decline in exports of cod clipfish started in earnest around Easter, while exports of salted whole cod had volume growth up to week 17 compared to the same period in 2019. For clipfish of cod, prices have remained high, measured in NOK, while saltfish prices started to fall as early as week 18. Brazil and Portugal are the two largest markets for cod clipfish. Expectations of reduced demand in Portugal over the next few months and near-full stoppages in the Brazilian market continue to contribute to great uncertainty going forward," says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, seafood analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
“Brazil is experiencing three crises at the same time; a social, an economic and a political crisis that is expected to affect the economy and consumer demand for a long time to come. At the same time, demand in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica has been stable until now compared to last year. Both markets have been affected to a small extent by the coronavirus. Although the markets are relatively tourist-dependent, it is not expected to affect the economy or demand for clipfish of saithe much going forward," says Øystein Valanes, the Seafood Council's fisheries envoy to Brazil.
On 4 June, the Seafood Council summarizes the development in seafood exports so far this year, including the month of May.
NSC status update as of 14 May
"We are seeing major changes in the flow of goods for fresh whole salmon as a result of the corona situation. As an example, last week there was 20 percent growth in exports to the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, while exports to Italy declined by 29 percent and Lithuania by 31 percent”, said Paul T. Aandahl, seafood analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
“Exports of fresh whole salmon to Asia increased by 1 percent last week compared to the same week last year. Three markets in particular have stood out positively recently, China, Hong Kong and Israel. Exports of fresh salmon fillets to Israel have increased by 144 percent from week 10 to week 19. For fresh whole salmon, however, there was a decrease of 14 percent. Exports to Israel overall for fresh salmon, whole and fillet, the increase was 28 percent in the last ten weeks to 2 561 tonnes,” Aandahl says.
Chinese marked for salmon in good shape
"The Chinese market is going very well for Norwegian salmon with a growth of 44 percent in the last six weeks. This may show an underlying stronger demand than was the expectation for 2020. Helped by low prices, the last few weeks show a significant growth in Norwegian salmon to China," says Victoria Braathen, the Seafood Council's fisheries envoy to China.
French restaurants still closed as market slowly ease restrictions
Exports of fresh whole salmon to France decreased by 6 percent last week, while exports of fresh fillet fell by 8 percent, compared with the same week last year.
“While most French shops were allowed to reopen from Monday this week, restaurants and cafes are still closed. A gradual reopening will only be decided at the end of May and will depend on developments in regional transmission of Covid-19. Take away and home delivery is still possible and staff canteens can now open to employees," says Trine Horne, the Seafood Council's fisheries envoy to France.
"We see that the French seafood processing industry is operating more or less as normal but following national infection control measures. The large fish smokers are open, producing as normal for this time of year. The grocery sector operates with strict infection control measures and we are seeing a continued shift towards pre-packaged products in retail. Both salmon and cod have been given more shelf space than before with portion packs. The fresh food counters that were closed down earlier in the outbreak have now largely reopened,” Horne said.
"However, increased home consumption in France has so far not compensated for the loss of the restaurant segment. It will therefore be interesting to follow how things develop in the restaurant segment when gradual reopening likely starts in June," concludes Horne.
Fillet export growth results in inceased bi-product exports
There was a decrease of 2 percent in the export of fresh whole salmon to 16 004 tonnes in week 19.
Fresh fillet increased by 16 percent and frozen fillet increased by 105 percent. Frozen whole salmon fell by 1 percent to 213 tonnes. In total, 22 645 tonnes of salmon were exported last week. This is a 4 percent increase from the same week last year.
“There was growth in exports of both fresh and frozen fillet of salmon last week. We see that an increase in fillet production also results in an increase in the export of by-products. Frozen by-products of salmon increased by 15 percent in week 19," says Paul T. Aandal, seafood analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
The average export price for fresh whole salmon was NOK 54.89 per kilo in week 19, a decrease of 11 percent from the same week last year. For trout, trout fell by 23 percent to NOK 46.21.
Volume growth and fall in prices for fresh cod
Based on the weekly statistics, there has been a 1 percent fall in exports of fresh whole cod so far this year. In the corona period from week 9 to week 19, exports fell by 8 percent. Exports of fresh cod increased by 60 percent in week 19 to 1055 tonnes. In addition to Denmark, which is a traditional reloading market, cod exports predominantly went to the Netherlands and Germany in week 19.
Based on the weekly export data, there is a fall in exports of frozen whole cod by 2 percent so far this year. However, exports of frozen whole cod have increased by 16 percent from week 9 to week 19. Last week, exports of frozen whole cod increased by 3 percent compared to the same week last year. Exports of frozen fillet, both block and non-block, increased by 208 percent and 15 percent respectively last week.
"The large increase in exports of fresh whole cod seen measured against this week last year should be seen in the context of the annual seafood expo in Brussels was held in week 19 last year. Traditionally, this is a week with lower exports. The average export price for fresh whole cod fell by 6 percent to NOK 33.70 per kilo in week 19 compared to the same week last year. This is also a significant fall from the high prices we saw earlier this year before the corona period occurred. This is despite a significant weakening of the Norwegian krone. The impression is that the fresh cod mainly goes to the processing market. The explanation is increased turnover of particularly frozen, processed or prepackaged products for grocery in several markets. This is also reflected in the growth in exports of frozen fillet products from Norway, which have been growing for several weeks," says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, seafood analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Uncertainty in markets for conventional products
According to weekly export data, there is a fall in exports of salted whole cod and cod clipfish of 2 percent and 6 percent respectively this year. Exports of salted whole cod fell by 52 percent last week compared with the same week last year. The export of clipfish of cod fell by 76 percent. There has been a significant fall in exports of both products to Portugal in recent weeks. Exports of clipfish of saithe have fallen by 9 percent so far this year. In recent weeks there has been an increase in exports and in week 19 exports of clipfish of saithe increased by 20 percent to 909 tonnes. Congo was the largest market in week 19, while exports to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic were on par with the same period last year.
"Great uncertainty in Portugal regarding future demand has contributed to reduced exports to this market in recent weeks. Prices remain high, measured in NOK, but much of this can be attributed to the weak exchange rates. At the same time, we see that exports of clipfish of saithe have grown in recent weeks compared to the same time last year. In recent weeks we have seen that exports to Congo, Congo-Brazzaville and the Caribbean have increased. Although this is positive, there is still considerable uncertainty as to how future purchasing power will affect demand in these markets in the future," Pettersen says.
“There is still good demand in Congo. This can partly be explained by the fact that clipfish of saithe have been defined as essential foods in both Congo-Brazzaville and Congo, and the import duty has been reduced," says Trond Kostveit, the Seafood Council's fisheries envoy to West and Central Africa.
NSC update as of 30 April 2020
"How the corona situation affects Norwegian seafood exports is different from market to market. In some markets there is volume growth, while in others there is a significant fall. So far we have seen a fall in demand for Norwegian seafood overall. For example, salmon export volumes are stable while the price measured in Euro has fallen by about 30 percent. The expected fall in purchasing power also create uncertainty about future demand, for example for clipfish," says Tom-Jørgen Gangsø, director of market insight and market access at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Lower export of whole salmon, increase for fresh and frozen fillets
"We are seeing a shift in salmon exports towards more processed products. This trend has strengthened throughout the corona period. Exports of salmon fillet to several of the overseas markets remain slightly better than the export of fresh whole salmon to these markets. For example, we are seeing growth in Japan, Israel and South Korea," says Paul Aandahl, seafood analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
So far in this period, from week 9 to week 17, we see a relatively stable export volume for salmon, from 168 000 tonnes last year to 167 000 tonnes this year. For fresh whole salmon that is a decrease of 2 percent, while for fresh fillet an increase of 8 percent and frozen fillet increased by 36 percent. Frozen whole salmon exports have decreased 30 percent in this period. To Asia, exports of fresh whole salmon have declined by 6 percent this period, while the EU saw a fall in exports of 1 percent.
"The export of salmon to markets that process it for the grocery trade has increased during the corona period. Salmon exports to Poland and the Netherlands grew by 5 percent each and Lithuania has grown by 46 percent. We are also seeing growth in exports of fresh whole salmon to consumer markets such as the UK (+5%) and Spain (+12%)," says Aandahl.
"Fresh salmon fillet exports to Sweden have grown by 23 percent in the last two months. Whole sides of salmon fillet is one of the best-selling salmon products in Sweden and is often included in retail campaigns to bring shoppers to the stores. This week the chain Hemköp promotes this at SEK 99 per kilo, which is the lowest price we have seen in several years," says Sigmund Bjørgo, the Norwegian Seafood Council's country director in Sweden.
"Norway exported 16 092 tonnes of salmon last week. The average export price for fresh whole salmon was NOK 55.92. This is 18 percent lower than the same week last year. The price in Euro was 31 percent lower, at €4.87. After a marked fall in prices from week 9, we now see that the price development for salmon is starting to flatten out," says Aandahl.
Continued fall for both fresh cod and clipfish
"The decline in exports of fresh whole cod during the corona period is due to both reduced demand and reduced catches as a result of bad weather. The shift in exports of fresh cod towards processing markets such as Poland and the Netherlands also continued last week. Increased demand for frozen and fresh prepackaged products in grocery in several markets explains some of this growth," says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, seafood analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
"However, the growth in retail does not seem to outweigh the loss from the more or less full closure of the restaurant segment. This contributes to the price fall measured in NOK, from historically high levels earlier this winter to the same level as last year. This is despite a weak Norwegian krone," Pettersen says.
Exports of fresh cod fell by 7 percent in week 17 compared to the same week last year, to 1 119 tonnes. In addition to Denmark, which is a traditional reloading market, last week also saw growth in exports to the Netherlands and Poland. Exports of frozen whole cod have been positive so far this year. Last week, exports of frozen whole cod increased by 26 percent compared to same week in 2019. Exports of Skrei decreased by 43 percent in week 17 compared to the same week the year before.
"We are now well into the final week of the Skrei season and exports for the season are expected to fall significantly below last year's record volumes. Regardless of the weather, exports of cod have fallen significantly since the corona restrictions were implemented. The main reason is reduced demand from the restaurant segment in key markets. At the same time, there has been a positive development for Skrei in grocery in Spain," Pettersen says.
“Cod clipfish exports fell by 51 percent in week 17 compared to the same week last year. The fall is most prominent to our main market Portugal, and we see the same development for saltfish.
“The corona situation is causing increased unemployment and weakened purchasing power, and demand in the main market for clipfish is expected to be affected by this in the future. At the same time, during the financial crisis, we saw that even with reduced purchasing power, consumers in these markets prioritized buying clipfish," says Pettersen.
“Most households in Portugal believe that their daily routines will be affected over the next two months. Economically, most consumers expect to cut back on their spending and be more cautious about personal consumption. The demise of the tourist and restaurant market over time, together with reduced purchasing power, can lead to a decrease in the consumption of clipfish,” says Johnny Thomassen, the Norwegian Seafood Council's country director in Portugal.
“As long as the corona restrictions continue in Brazil, and until Brazilians get back to work, there will be significantly reduced demand for clipfish in the market. Surveys show that 80 percent of Brazilians buy only basic goods as a result of the crisis: rice, beans, potato and cheap animal proteins. At the same time, during the financial crisis, even with reduced purchasing power, Brazilians prioritized buying clipfish. The sharpest oil price fall in modern times along with political instability further contributes to the fact that it will take time for the Brazilian economy to pick up," says Øystein Valanes, the Norwegian Seafood Council's country director in Brazil.
NSC update as of 23 April 2020
*The week after Easter normally has 4 working days so we compare with the corresponding week last year, meaning week 16 2020 against week 17 2019.
"There is now a strong growth in demand for prepackaged products in the markets. This provides a new opportunity for the processing industry, both in Norway and internationally. Norwegian fish such as salmon and cod are sought-after raw materials for the production of packaged products for sale in the grocery trade," says Paul Aandahl, seafood analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
"After a very turbulent period, we see that the price drop for salmon is starting to flatten out. There is still a large reduction in sales to individual markets, but at the same time there are several positive moves to track," says Aandahl.
-Total exports of fresh whole salmon to Asia as a region increased by 12 per cent. We see an improvement in logistics. For example, exports to China of fresh whole salmon increased by 137 per cent to 837 tonnes in week 16. Other markets that have a positive trend are Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. These are markets where home consumption of Norwegian salmon more than compensates for the loss of restaurant consumption," says Aandahl.
"After three weeks of higher exports than the corresponding weeks last year, we see that the Chinese market is fully back for Norwegian salmon. As China moves towards a normalisation in activity levels and demand, we see no reason why this development should not continue," says Victoria Braathen, Norwegian Seafood Council director in China
"In markets in the EU we also see similar trends as in Asia. Norway have exported more Norwegian salmon to Spain and the UK in recent weeks. In both of these markets, we see that salmon takes a greater share of the total seafood consumption. This means that more and more people are choosing salmon," says Aandahl.
Based on panel data from Kantar analytics, we see that in Spain there was an increase in home consumption of salmon measured in volume of 12 per cent, while the value increased by 21 per cent, in the period week 9 to week 12. In the UK salmon increased by 18 per cent measured in volume, while the value increased by 20 per cent. The seafood category increased by 20 per cent measured in both volume and value.
In France home consumption of salmon increased by 21 per cent in volume, while seafood increased by 11 per cent in the same period. Frozen cod fillet increased by 49 per cent.
"We observe that salmon have increased shelf space in store, while some fresh fish counters operate at reduced capacity," says Trine Horne, Norwegian Seafood Council director in France. "Convenience food still hold a strong position, and increased availability of “ready to eat” products of both cod and salmon contributes to an increase in home consumption. The strongest growth is for frozen products. Both salmon and cod products increase more than the seafood category in general. During this period, the Seafood Council has conducted a skrei campaign with more than 4,000 stores, as well as good visibility on television, print and social media," says Horne.
"To the United States, it appears that the export volume of fresh salmon fillet has stabilised at the same level in recent weeks. Last week, 331 tonnes of fresh salmon were exported to the United States. At the same time, exports of fresh whole salmon have been reduced sharply as a result of the loss of the restaurant segment and appear to have stabilised. Previously, the export of fresh whole salmon was 86 tonnes. This also reflects the air freight capacity is available between Europe, primarily London and Amsterdam, and the United States. At the same time, there is no doubt that the shipping capacity places limits on the export ability to the United States," says Egil Ove Sundheim, Norwegian Seafood Council director in US.
Fall in exports of saltfish and clipfish
Although exports of cod have gone relatively smoothly so far this year, there is considerable uncertainty related to, among other things, developments in purchasing power and demand. For example, after several weeks of growth, we now see a fall in exports of both saltfish and clipfish of cod," says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, seafood analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Exports of fresh cod increased by 31 per cent in week 16 compared to week 17 in 2019 to 1577 tonnes. In addition to Denmark, which is a traditional reloading market, there was growth in The Netherlands and Poland reprocessing markets in week 16. Exports of frozen whole cod have been positive so far this year. Last week, exports of frozen whole cod increased by 53 per cent compared to week 17 in 2019. Exports of clipfish and saltfish decreased by 53 and 33 per cent respectively, while exports of stockfish also fell further by 98 per cent.
NSC update as of 17th April 2020
"Because a number of countries have introduced restrictions that hit the restaurant segment hard, we see shifts towards increased sales of Norwegian seafood in grocery, especially as prepackaged and frozen products in many markets. If we compare exports with Easter week last year (week 16), we see an increase in salmon and cod exports to processing markets such as Poland and the Netherlands. These are markets wish is repackaged into consumer products for sale in retail," says Paul Aandahl, seafood analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
“There was a 4 per cent decrease in fresh whole salmon exports during the Easter week. We are now seeing major changes in salmon exports between different markets compared to Easter week last year. This shows that there is a lot of volatility in the salmon market as a result of the corona situation," says Aandahl.
“Exports to the EU fell 4 percent for fresh whole salmon during the Easter week. We see good export numbers to processing markets such as Poland, the Netherlands and Lithuania, and exports to individual markets such as Spain, the UK, Germany and Finland also grew, while there was a decline to France and Italy," says Aandahl.
Spaniards eat salmon at home
"Salmon is the favourite fish in Spain and we are seeing a turn to increased home consumption that has far compensated for the demise of the restaurant market in Spain. Exports of fresh whole salmon to Spain increased by 16 percent during the Easter week," says Bjørn-Erik Stabell, the Norwegian Seafood Council's country director in Spain.
"Spain, however, is currently one of the hardest hit countries in the world in the corona pandemic. It has also implemented some of the strictest restrictions for its inhabitants. This, of course, affects all Spaniards who are in their fifth week of lockdown and an analysis conducted by Kantar TNS shows, among other things, that 85 percent of Spaniards are concerned about their finances," says Stabell.
Positive signs in Asia
"The total export of fresh whole salmon to Asia was similar to Easter week last year, while three markets in particular stand out positively, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan," says Aandahl.
"As the Chinese market is now gradually returning to some normality, Norway continues to strengthen its position in the Chinese salmon market. This is seen in growth over the past few weeks, and last week’s exports of 623 tonnes represents an increase of 149 percent compared to the Easter week last year,” says Victoria Braathen, the Norwegian Seafood Council's country director in China.
“Compared to Easter week last year, with exports of 11 993 tonnes, there was a 4 percent decrease in exports of fresh whole salmon. Exports of fresh salmon fillet decreased by 5 percent, while exports of frozen fillet increased by 123 percent to 1 027 tonnes,” Aandahl said.
“With an average export price for fresh whole salmon of NOK 59.40, there was a 12 percent decrease in the average export price in week 15 compared to the same week last year. Measured in Euro, the price fall is 33 percent,” says Aandahl
Cod exports increased during Easter week
“At 1 033 tonnes, fresh cod exports grew by 56 percent during Easter week compared to Easter week last year. In addition to Denmark, we also see growth in other processing markets such as the Netherlands and Poland. For Skrei, there was also an 11 percent increase in Easter week to 131 tonnes," says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, seafood analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
"The growth is largely due to good weather and good deliveries of fresh cod throughout Easter week," Pettersen says.
Clipfish "more in demand than Easter eggs"
"The growth in exports of clipfish and saltfish also continued last week, measured against Easter week last year. On the other hand, we see a significant fall in exports of stockfish, both in volume and price. This must be seen in the context of the major challenges facing the main market Italy during the corona crisis in the country," Pettersen says.
“In Portugal, a lot of clipfish are traditionally eaten at Easter, and despite great uncertainty in connection with the corona crisis, it is reported that sales of clipfish went from normal to exceptionally good this year. One chain reported "greater demand for clipfish than Easter eggs," says Johnny Thomassen, the Norwegian Seafood Council's country director in Portugal.
“At the beginning of 2020, the Brazilian currency was already weak measured against the US dollar. In March, it fell further as a result of the coronavirus and fall in oil prices. The 31 percent weakening of the currency has sharply reduced the purchasing power of Brazilians, and clipfish faces lower market demand. So far this year the volume has been reduced by 26 percent and the value 22 percent," says Øystein Valanes, the Norwegian Seafood Council's country director in Brazil.
"We are seeing continued price growth for most products measured in NOK, but there is a significant price drop measured in Euro especially for fresh products compared to Easter week last year. The conventional products such as clipfish and saltfish still hold high price levels also measured in other currencies," Pettersen adds.
NSC update as of 8th April 2020
There is still considerable uncertainty around future demand and logistics globally. We are seeing tendencies towards a gradual normalization in Asian countries such as China and South Korea.
“Easter sales are underway, and we see growth in demand for packaged seafood products in retail. In some markets, fresh fish sales are declining due to the loss of the restaurant segment and restrictions in stores. People shop less often and buy products with a longer shelf life," says Paul Aandahl, seafood analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Salmon exports decline week before Easter
If we compare with week 15 in 2019 which was the week before Easter last year, there has been a decrease of 15 percent in the export of fresh whole salmon.
“There is usually an increase in salmon exports the week before Easter. This year we see a decrease of 13 percent in round weight, compared to week 15 in 2019. Norway exported 17 024 tonnes of fresh whole salmon in week 14. This is a decrease of 15 percent compared to week 15 in 2019," says Aandahl.
“With an average export price of NOK 64.27 in week 14, there was also a 6 per cent decrease in the price," says Aandahl.
"Overall, exports of fresh whole salmon to the EU market increased by 1 percent to 14 235 tonnes in week 14. There was growth in Lithuania (18%), Germany (14%), Finland (146%) and UK (25%), while there was a decline to Poland (8%), Italy (32%), France (16%), Spain (9%),” Aandahl said.
"Exports of fresh salmon fillets increased by 2 percent in week 14 to 1 801 tonnes. For example, exports to the EU (7%), Japan (37%), Sweden (51%), Israel (154%) and South Korea (25%),” Says Aandahl.
"There was a decrease of about 7 percent in the export of fresh whole salmon to Asia in week 14. For the first time since the Corona outbreak, exports to China have surpassed the corresponding week in 2019. In week 14, exports of fresh whole salmon to China increased by 32 percent to 572 tonnes. There was also growth in South Korea (4%) and Taiwan (2%). There was a decrease in the export of fresh whole salmon to Thailand (75%) and Malaysia (69%). The reason for the decline in Thailand is largely due to reduced demand from the tourism industry, while the decline in Malaysia is largely related to the loss of air freight capacity,” Aandahl said.
There was a 72 percent decline in exports of fresh whole salmon to the United States in week 14. This is due to reduced demand from the restaurant market and a sharp reduction in transport capacity from week 12.
Continued volume growth for frozen whole cod and clipfish
Norway exported 1 857 tonnes of fresh whole cod in week 14. This is an increase of 16 percent from the same week last year. Exports of frozen whole cod increased by 65 percent to 1 007 tonnes in week 14. For fresh whole Skrei, we see a decrease of 40 percent to 262 tonnes in week 14.
“Exports of fresh whole cod increased by 16 percent in week 14. The increase is due to better weather and bigger catches of cod. The largest growth was in the processing markets Netherlands and Poland, which produce frozen products for grocery to meet increasing demand," says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, seafood analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
“Although the price is still slightly higher in Norwegian kroner, prices measured in Euro are considerably lower than week 14 last year. At the same time, we see continued decline in exports of fresh Skrei as a result of the loss of the restaurant segment and limited selection of fresh fish around Europe," says Pettersen
"Growth for frozen whole cod also continues in week 14, and we see a strong increase of 128 percent to the UK. This is due to increased demand for frozen fish in grocery in the UK, while demand for the processing industry increases accordingly. For frozen cod, prices are increasing, also measured in other currencies such as the US Dollar and the British Pound," Pettersen says.
"We see a continued growth of 32 percent in clipfish exports to Portugal in week 14. The price measured in NOK increases, while the price measured in Euro falls. For cod clipfish, we have seen a positive development overall so far this year, but weak demand growth in some key markets creates uncertainty going forward. For saltfish, we see a 19 percent decrease in exports, while the price increases both in NOK and in Euro," says Pettersen.
NSC update as of 1st April 2020
Norway as a seafood-producing nation is proving itself highly adaptable in the ongoing situation. The biggest challenges at the moment are related to the closure of the restaurant segment globally, which hits individual players hard. There is still considerable uncertainty related to future demand and logistics. We are seeing tendencies towards a gradual normalization in Asian countries such as China and South Korea.
"As in previous weeks, we are seeing a continued reduction for fresh seafood and an increase in frozen and conventional products," says Paul Aandahl, seafood analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
"Easter sales are about to start in earnest and fresh salmon exports to the UK and Sweden increased by 27 per cent and 52 per cent respectively last week. Saltfish and clipfish also increased by 42 per cent and 23 per cent respectively in week 13. It is reported that planned Easter promotions in grocery stores in several markets are going as normal. This helps to reduce some of the negative impact we have seen as a result of the loss of the restaurant segment," says Aandahl.
"The weak Norwegian krone continues to compensate for reduced demand. In week 13 we see a 22 percent reduction in the value of NOK against the euro and 27 percent measured against the US dollar. While the export price to the EU for fresh whole salmon fell by 10 per cent in NOK, the price measured in euro was 27 per cent lower than last year," says Aandahl.
Continued decline in salmon exports - but growth in some markets
“Measured in round weight there was a 5 percent decrease in salmon exports in week 13. For fresh whole salmon, the decrease was 10 percent, while exports of fresh salmon fillet increased by 5 per cent and frozen fillet exports increased by 64 percent. The average export price for fresh whole salmon decreased by 9 percent to NOK 58.99 in week 13”, says Paul Aandahl, seafood analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
"Salmon exports to Asia decreased by 8 percent in week 13. As in week 12, salmon exports to South Korea also increased in week 13. In week 13 it increased by 13 percent to 508 tonnes. Salmon exports to Taiwan increased by 40 percent to 202 tonnes in week 13”, Aandahl said.
"In China, we are seeing gradual steps towards a more normalised everyday life. There has been a steady growth in salmon exports to China, from 10 tonnes in week 5 to 519 tonnes in week 13. However, it is still 18 percent less than the same week last year. Week 13 in 2019 was also one of the strongest weeks in all of 2019. The export of fresh salmon to China of 519 tonnes in week 13 shows a market with gradually increased demand. Conditions this winter have favoured grocery and online sales, and we are now seeing that some restaurants are on the way back. Still, several precautionary measures are in place and great attention is paid to how the pandemic evolves outside of China," said Victoria Braathen, the Seafood Council's country director in China.
The EU market is predominantly a fresh market for Norwegian salmon. In total, salmon exports to the EU fell by 5 percent last week. Exports of fresh salmon decreased by 6 percent, while exports of frozen salmon increased by 51 per cent. In week 13 there has been an increase in the salmon exports to several individual markets in Europe, such as Sweden (52 percent), Finland (34 percent and the UK (27 percent).
"Export volumes to Sweden have exceeded all expectations over the past week. Fresh salmon exports increased by 52 per cent last week, despite the closure or reduced visitor numbers of many restaurants. It seems that Swedish grocery has so far more than compensated for the decline of fresh salmon to the restaurant market," says Sigmund Bjørgo, the Norwegian Seafood Council's country director in Sweden.
"We see continued decline in the export of fresh whole salmon to France. The decrease was 31 percent in week 13. Home consumption in France does not compensate for the closure of the restaurant market. Exports of salmon fillet to France decreased by 58 percent in week 13 compared to the same week last year. In week 12, exports of salmon fillet were down by 8 percent compared with the same week last year," says Trine Horne, the Norwegian Seafood Council's country director in France.
“There are still strict restrictions in place in France. The French are ordered to stay at home and avoid contact with others. Only pharmacies and grocery stores are allowed to stay open. The requirement to keep a distance between people at least one meter means there are long queues to get into grocery stores. Up to several hours in larger stores such as hypermarkets and supermarkets, and slightly shorter waiting times in smaller stores. Physical barriers have been set up in front of the few fresh produce counters that are open. Pre-packaged products appear to be selling well and the traditional food markets are now also closed,” Horne said
"Exports of fresh whole salmon to the US continue to fall as a result of the sharp reduction in transport capacity. In week 13, exports of fresh whole salmon to the United States fell by 94 percent. This is also due to large parts of the restaurant market in the US having closed for business. For fresh salmon fillet, the decrease was 41 percent in week 13. We expect the challenges relating to logistics and reduced demand to continue here in the US for some time, “says Egil Ove Sundheim, the Norwegian Seafood Council's country director in the United States.
White fish - fresh fish exports decline but increase for frozen, saltfish and clipfish
“The reduction in fresh fish exports affects most of our white fish species, including cod. In week 13 we see the largest fall for fresh whole cod that we have seen so far, down 43 percent compared to the same week last year. After a very good start to the year for the export of fresh whole cod, we see the fall that started in week 11 has continued into week 13,” says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, seafood analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
"Both frozen whole cod and haddock have experienced significant growth in week 13, by 28 and 80 percent respectively. The frozen cod is mainly exported to China. A weak Norwegian krone contributes to prices in NOK remaining stable for both fresh and frozen products, compared to week 13 last year," says Pettersen.
“Saltfish and clipfish exports continue the good development, especially to Portugal. There was a 17 percent increase in exports of clipfish to Portugal in week 13, and a 47 percent increase in exports of saltfish. While the price in Norwegian kroner goes up, in Euro it remains relatively stable,” Pettersen says.
The export figures for Q1 2020 will be published Friday 3rd April at 0600CET.
NSC Update as of 26th March 2020:
The Norwegian seafood industry is proving very adaptable in this situation. The most pressing challenges at present relate to the more or less complete loss of restaurant trade globally, something which is severely affecting some producers. It is also difficult to say how this crisis will affect future demand and logistics in this segment.
“Norwegian seafood exports have over several years been helped by a weak Norwegian currency. Nonetheless, the past weeks’ fall in oil prices and currency depreciation is extraordinary. Average currency rates for US dollar and Euro is down 27 and 22 percent respectively, compared to the same time last year. Even if we see a price increase for several products in NOK, there is a considerate fall in prices for most seafood products measured in US dollar and Euro,” says Paul T. Aandahl, seafood analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
“There is increased uncertainty in consumers’ future purchasing power in several markets. We do not know exactly what consequences this will have, but it is likely to impact demand for Norwegian seafood. For example, during the global financial crisis the demand for salmon for home consumption increased, as less people dined out but rather wanted to enjoy good home cooked meals,” says Aandahl.
“In several of our most important export markets we have been told of episodes of supermarket hoarding and thus growth in retail sales. This growth is expected to slow as people eat the produce they have purchased. As the situation stands now, we can nonetheless expect that retail will remain strong, as people are eating at home rather in restaurants,” says Aandahl.
Salmon exports pivot to prepacked and processed products
In absolute volumes, there was a 3,6 percent decline in salmon exports in week 12. For fresh whole salmon the reduction was 8 percent, whilst fresh fillet exports increased by 28 percent. Frozen salmon fillet exports increased by 17 percent compared to the same week in 2019.
“The Norwegian seafood industry has proven itself agile and adaptable in the face of the current challenges and has turned their production towards more processed products. Whilst the export of fresh whole salmon to the EU has fallen by 6 percent in week 12, we see growth of 16 and 63 percent respectively to Poland and Lithuania. These are markets where Norwegian salmon are processed and smoked before being sold to European markets,” says Aandahl.
“Despite a sharp decline in the sales of Norwegian salmon to the restaurant segment in Asia, the total volumes of fresh whole salmon to Asia were almost the same as last year. This is primarily because of strong growth in the take-away segment and increased sales in retail. China had a decline of 17 percent compared with last year, however in South Korea exports have grown by 53 percent,” says Aandahl.
“To the US market, where transport capacity for fresh salmon was severely affected in week 12, fresh Norwegian salmon exports fell by 89 percent, whilst fresh fillet exports remained at the same level,” says Aandahl.
Cod exports: Fresh cod is down, increase for saltfish and clipfish
“As expected, we saw another week of lower fresh cod exports and fresh whole Skrei in week 12. The fall was 29 and 15 percent respectively compared to the same week in 2019. At the same time, there is significant growth in frozen whole cod and clipfish exports. Several markets report increased demand for products with longer sell-by dates, such as frozen products and clipfish. To Portugal we see large volume growth, particularly for saltfish and clipfish of cod. China is the largest buyer of frozen whole cod,” says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, seafood analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
"There is still a price growth in Norwegian kroner for all cod products, but both in Euro and US dollar there is a significant price drop, especially for fresh whole cod and Skrei," Pettersen says.
"We are now in a period of low exports of stockfish, so sales are less affected. At the same time, it is now the season to hang the fish for sale in the autumn and Norwegian stockfish producers are very dependent on exports to Italy and Nigeria. The current situation in Italy and Nigeria creates uncertainty around future demand. Nigeria has an oil-dependent economy, which will also affect the local currency and thus the purchasing power going forward. At the same time, there are reports of increased demand for products that can be stored, such as stockfish and clipfish," says Pettersen.
UK: retail growth but Fish & Chips struggles
"We have so far not received any feedback on logistical challenges into the UK or a decline in exports. In the grocery store where the majority of Norwegian fish are sold, we see seafood flying off the shelves and the producers locally report that they have had significant increases in sales, but that they are struggling to keep up with the increased demand. Cod, haddock and salmon sell well," says Hans Frode Kielland Asmyhr, the NSC’s UK director.
"The Fish & Chips industry is now to a large degree shutting up shop after new strict measures were introduced this week. Importers and distributors into this segment are affected by this and we are likely to see a fall in exports to this part of the market. The restaurant market is now also completely gone, which has consequences for Norwegian salmon and Norwegian fresh white fish," says Asmyhr.
"Given the current situation, we expect to see growth in the food delivery segment," says Asmyhr.
Germany: restaurants close and some delays in commodity flow
“Germany introduced stricter measures this week like in many other markets. The restaurant market is completely shut down, whilst take-away and food delivery remains open. Restrictions have also been imposed in grocery stores, with limitations on number of people in store at the same time and maximum number of products per person to avoid stockpiling,” says Gitte Hannemann Mollan, NSC country director in Germany.
"Currently it seems like there are close to normal volumes for fresh and frozen seafood sold in the German market. Much of fresh salmon is sold as pre-packaged products," says Mollan.
“Last week there were reports of long queues via Poland to Germany which caused some delays in the flow of goods. This week, the European Commission proposed guidelines for reducing the declaration time for border crossings," Mollan said.
South Korea: restaurant segment is hit hard and online sales rocket
Norwegian seafood has a strong position in South Korea and in 2019 the market was the second largest salmon market in Asia, the largest single market for live king crab and the second largest consumer market for Norwegian mackerel. Korea is a technologically advanced society, and the use of online solutions is widespread.
"For salmon and mackerel, we see grocery stores taking a far greater share of sales. The restaurant segment has been hit hard in Korea and for Norwegian salmon this is traditionally the market, but we see the demand for salmon for home consumption is increasing. During the first few months of 2020, we saw a strong increase in online sales of fresh salmon products and frozen mackerel," says Gunvar Lenhard Wie, the NSC’s country director for Japan and South Korea.
"The largest grocery chains report that sales of fresh food online have increased fourfold compared to the same period last year. A focus on health and healthy foods means Norwegian seafood has an advantage and sales are increasing, both in physical stores and online," says Wie.
"The biggest challenges are related to the logistics into the market as demand from the grocery trade is high. The logistics situation for Korea was debated in Korean media on Monday, highlighting Norwegian salmon as a sought-after commodity,” Wie said.
Japan: the end of conveyor belt sushi
"Japan was quick to implement restrictions to prevent early spread of the Corona virus. Like in many other markets Japanese consumers have reduced the number of restaurant meals and increased grocery purchases. There is an increase in online food trading and the players do not have the capacity to respond to demand as normal," says Gunvar Lenhard Wie, the NSC country director for Japan and South Korea.
“One of the largest chains of "conveyor belt sushi," has stopped displaying sushi on the conveyor belts and has introduced digital menus instead,” Wie said.
"It is reported that seafood sales are maintained in retail and that processed and prepacked seafood products sell particularly well, for example frozen Norwegian mackerel fillets,” concludes Wie.
NSC status update as of 20th March 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic are causing big changes in consumer behaviour as well as transport and logistics in many markets for Norwegian seafood. The HoReCa (Hotels/Restaurants/Catering) sector is particularly affected, whilst retail and delivery services are reporting growth as a result of many countries’ self-isolation and quarantining measures. A weaker Norwegian krone is counteracting some of the effects of lower market demand at present.
Demand for Norwegian seafood varies between markets, species and where Norwegian seafood is sold.
-Despite increase in retail sales in Europe, we expect lower demand for fish and seafood as a result of lower turnover. The lower demand will first hit species such as king crab, quality labelled skrei and prawns usually sold in restaurants. We have also been given indications that the increased insecurity in Europe means retail buyers look to limit the range of products in-store. This might also affect Norwegian seafood exports. Our country directors in the European markets are reporting several fresh fish counters closing down and prepacked fresh seafood often being out of stock, says Paul Aandahl, seafood analyst at NSC.
Norway exported over 18 000 tons fresh whole salmon in week 11, an increase of 24 percent compared to the same time last year. We see the strongest growth in traditional processing markets for the EU market, such as Poland (+42%), Denmark (+93%) and Lithuania (+141%).
-The effects we have seen on export of fresh salmon in some markets as a result of the virus outbreak so far, will continue to spread other markets as the pandemic evolves. The global salmon market will have to manage increased transport costs, changed consumption patterns and unpredictable prices, says Aandahl.
The main cod season (Skrei season) runs from January to April. Between 30 and 40 percent of fresh whole cod volumes are exported during these four months.
-99 percent of Norwegian cod exports goes to fresh consumption of processing in Europe. Large parts of the fresh cod category has fallen away with increased restrictions in several European markets. We are well into the season, so the consequences are not as dramatic as they could have been if the Corona situation had happened earlier in the winter. Nonetheless, large parties of cod will now go to other uses, such as salting and drying, says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, seafood analyst at NSC.
-Reduced demand will lead to lower prices in the markets. We can already see this in the stats for fresh cod exports in week 11, says Pettersen.
-Frozen products are more suitable for storing. In several markets we now see a shift from fresh to frozen fish, something we also saw in China earlier in the year. Products like clipfish and stockfish also have the advantage that they can be stored for longer periods of time without cooling. This is seen as a positive in a marketplace where people shop more infrequently, Pettersen says.
-Frozen, whole whitefish is primarily sold to processing industry in Eastern Europe and China. In week 11 we saw increased exports of frozen whole cod, says Pettersen.
France imposed strict measures to slow down the spread of the Corona virus this week. People are required to stay at home and as much as possible avoid contact with others, with the exception of people working in sectors of critical importance, such as healthcare and security. Schools, parks, theaters and restaurants are all closed.
-Grocery shops are open, but most fresh food counters are shutting down in a bid to avoid spreading the virus. This leads to an expectation of increased sales of prepacked seafood products. Traditional markets remain open, but people are advised to keep safe distance and physical barriers are in place to ensure people cannot get too close to the foods on offer, says Trine Horne, NSC country director in France.
France is the third largest market for Norwegian seafood and has been the biggest growth market for Norwegian salmon so far this year.
Spanish society more or less closed this week, and only grocery stores and pharmacies are allowed to stay open.
-The total seafood export to Spain is expected to remain relatively stable for some time still. As in many other markets we see growth in sales of prepacked seafood, says Bjørn-Erik Stabell, NSC country director in Spain.
The Spanish government have issued guarantees that households should have access to fresh groceries in the stores. This means sales of frozen foods have not increased significantly and is also linked to most Spanish not having much freezer capacity in their homes.
- Spain primarily being a fresh fish market, we don't wee much growth in the frozen segment. It is expected that prepacked fresh seafood and take-away will perform well in this period, says Stabell.
Norway has exported about 15 500 tons of seafood to Spain in the first two months of 2020, valued at 940 million NOK.
Sweden is the market which in many ways “goes against the current” with regards to restrictions and government measures to prevent spread of the virus. So far, government focus has been on increased hand hygiene, but also in this market there is a marked decline in restaurant trade and many consumers are worried about the future.
-The frozen food sections in stores are being raided by consumers who are buying a few more packs than usual, says Sigmund Bjørgo, NSC country director in Sweden.
The big question remains if retail can compensate for reduced restaurant sales of Norwegian seafood.
Norwegian fresh salmon exports to the US market was down 4 percent in week 11 (379 tons), compared to the same time last year. Export of fresh salmon fillet increased by 4 percent to 426 tons. The US has developed into an important market for Norwegian trout in recent years, and in week 11 178 tons of fresh whole trout was sold to the USA, up 122 percent compared to the same week last year.
Export of fresh whole salmon went from 149 tons in week 10 to 217 tons in week 11. For week 10 that is a decrease of 51 percent on last year, and for week 11 the decrease was 37 percent.
For week 11 fresh whole salmon exports were down 41 percent to 708 tons compared with the same week last year.
NSC Status Update as of 16th March 2020
The EU is the largest and most important region for Norwegian seafood exports. In 2019 Norway exported 1,6 million tons of seafood to the EU, valued at 68 bn NOK. This represents 59 percent of total seafood exports in volume, and 63 percent of the value.
-As many countries in Europe have imposed strict measures to prevent spread of the Covid-19 virus, we’ve seen a large part of the restaurant market disappear. There is a shift towards retail and home consumption of seafood. Several of the Norwegian Seafood Council’s representatives in the markets are reporting on at times empty seafood shelves in the supermarkets, says Paul T Aandahl, seafood analyst at NSC.
-However, the biggest challenge for Norwegian seafood going forward will be a possible reduction in consumption in European markets. We know that 30 percent of European salmon consumption happens in restaurants, hotels and catering. For Norwegian salmon this segment stands for 24 percent of total consumption, Aandahl says.
-In addition, reduction in available air freight routes to overseas markets, could lead to fewer opportunities for sending fresh fish from Europe to Asia and the US. It is hard to predict how much fresh fish will go to these regions, as the fish competes for the limited capacity with other goods, such as machine parts and medical equipment, Aandahl explains.
-On the positive, we do see gradual steps towards normalization of exports to China, Aandahl says.
NSC Status update Friday 13. March
In a bid to halt the spread of the Corona virus The Norwegian Directorate of Health implemented a number of measures coming into effect at 6pm Thursday 12th March.
Information about outbreak in Norway can be found here: https://www.fhi.no/en/id/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/
Of particular relevance to the seafood industry, fishery and aquaculture are considered critical society functions along with the transport sector, and operations are excepted to continue.
NSC Status update Thursday 12.March
The Covid-19 pandemic is causing uncertainty in the global marketplace and consumers are changing their consumption patterns which affects many markets. The HoReCa segment is particularly exposed, and at the same time we are seeing substantial growth in online and home delivery services in many markets.
Since the WHO categorized the virus a pandemic, many governments, including Norway, have imposed some of the most severe restrictions on travel and social interactions known in peace time. One example is the USA stopping all passenger flights from Europe for the next 30 days.
Flight-ban to affect seafood exports from Norway
Despite the current US flight restrictions only affecting passenger travel, it is expected to impact seafood exports.
-The United States depend on imported seafood meet consumer demand, and 90 percent of the seafood consumed is imported. The announced air travel restrictions have caused uncertainty in the US market, as a lot of fresh seafood is transported by passenger aircraft. The situation is unclear and Norwegian exporters, US importers and the freight companies are working to find solutions, says Egil Ove Sundheim, NSC country director in the USA.
NSC seafood analyst Paul T. Aandahl believes one consequence could be smaller volumes of fresh fish from Europe to the USA. For Norway this would probably cause a shift from fresh to frozen seafood products and increased export to European markets.
- Appx. 64% of imported salmon in the US is of Norwegian origin, about 73 000 tonnes.
- The USA was the fourth biggest seafood export market for Norway in 2019, and the second largest growth market
- In 2019 Norway exported 80 000 tons of seafood to the US, of which just over half was air freighted fresh salmon.
Unclear situation in Europe
The rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus and the increasing measures imposed by governments across Europe to contain the spread means the situation is unclear and changing quickly in many markets.
-It is uncertainty linked to how much the pandemic will impact the European production facilities and also local consumption habits, says Aandahl.
Fresh exports particularly affected
So far in 2020 there has been a decline in exports of fresh salmon to markets such as China and Italy, directly related to the outbreak of the Corona virus. Overall, Norwegian seafood exports have not seen significant negative effects in the first two months of the year.
-Salmon is a robust product which adapts well to variations in the market. Norwegian salmon is a sought-after product exported to more than 100 countries around the world. But as the situation is unfolding, it is too early to say how this pandemic will impact salmon exports going forward, says Aandahl.
-In 2019 China was our largest growth market for salmon, measured in value. As a direct result of the Corona virus outbreak, we have seen a sharp decline in exports to China, particularly for fresh salmon. Year to date, export is down 43 percent, and in February it was down by 83 percent. Other markets have had no problem picking up this surplus, says Aandahl.
Italy was Norway’s ninth largest export market for salmon in 2019. A marked decline in salmon exports were registered in week 9 and 10 (34 and 24 percent respectively). Other European markets picked up this surplus.