High salmon prices benefiting Norway, other producing countries
According to the latest compiled data from Globefish, which is the analytical and informational arm on world fish trade of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Norway' export volumes were 3% higher, at 233,000 tonnes. The volume share of Norway's top export market, the EU-led by France and Poland-continues to diminish in the face of stiff competition from buyers in Asian markets and the US.
Demand for salmon among the fast-expanding middle class in Asia, particularly in China, Vietnam and Thailand, continues to strengthen. In the US, a lack of Chilean supply and a shift in the sourcing policies of major retail chains toward Norwegian product has seen Norwegian-origin imports grow rapidly in recent years, Globefish said.
In the case of the Chilean salmon sector, the impact of last year's algae bloom continues to affect the country's Atlantic salmon exports (in terms of volume) to all markets. In the first quarter of 2017, Atlantic salmon harvests decreased 24.2% to 127,000 tonnes compared with the same period in 2016.
Meanwhile, the Scottish farmed salmon sector has seen its steadily expanding output absorbed at increasingly higher prices as demand in its well-diversified major markets (the US, France and China) has risen in parallel with a depreciation of the British pound versus the US dollar, the euro and the Chinese yuan.
Challenges related to sea lice management have exerted some pressure on the cost side of Scottish aquaculture companies' balance sheets, but the outlook for producers is generally good, Globefish said.
It said the prevailing high-price environment in the world farmed salmon market has now been sustained long enough to start to bring about more fundamental shifts in business models, supply chains and consumer preferences beyond those that can be attributed to short-term supply-and-demand dynamics.
For example, value addition and innovation are becoming ever more important to generate demand as it becomes difficult to push relative affordability as a selling point for the consumer.