Norway

Norway exported NOK 41.4 billion worth of seafood in the first quarter

Norway exported NOK 41.4 billion ( 1 NOK = 0,087 EUR) worth of seafood in the first quarter. This is an increase of NOK 7.4 billion, or 22 per cent, compared to the same period last year.

Posted on Apr 13 ,00:15

Norway exported NOK 41.4 billion worth of seafood in the first quarter

"Norwegian seafood exports have come through a historically strong quarter in terms of value. A significantly weaker Norwegian krone and price growth in the markets for species such as salmon, cod, trout, pollock and herring is the main explanation for the growth. This led, among other things, to the export value in March being the highest ever in a single month", says Christian Chramer, Managing Director of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

"I am satisfied that seafood from Norway continues to be popular around the world. Norwegian seafood is sustainable and a good food choice for people of all ages and countries", says Bjørnar Skjæran (Ap), Minster for Fisheries and Oceans.

Food inflation and a weak krone

"Many value records have been set in the first quarter, for example for salmon and in the whitefish category, but when we look behind the numbers, the picture is not as so positive. Strong food inflation and the weak krone explain a large part of the increase in value, and in addition the export volume of cod and salmon is falling, which helps to raise prices", Chramer emphasizes.

The weak krone was the main reason for lifting the export value by around NOK 3 billion in the first quarter, while increased prices in the markets contributed NOK 6 billion. The fall in volume, reduced the export value by around NOK 1.8 billion.

Demanding times

"World trade will also be affected in 2023 by war and turmoil in the world economy, so we are still living in challenging times. This is felt keenly in the markets, where consumers are now experiencing that their purchasing power has been substantially weakened", says Christian Chramer.

Greatest growth in export value to the USA

Exports to the USA had the greatest growth in value in the first quarter, with an increase in export value of NOK 1 billion, or 40 per cent, compared to the same period last year. Thus, the strong development that we have seen recently continues.

Salmon is driving the increasing export value to the American market, but trout and frozen snow crab have also had a strong first quarter.

"It´s positive that the USA has proven to be a strong growth market for several species in the first quarter. For king crab and snow crab, the USA is one of the biggest markets this quarter, with growth in both value and volume", says Bjørnar Skjæran, Minister for Fisheries and Oceans.

A volume decline for salmon

A total of 693,400 tonnes of seafood was exported in the first quarter. This is a decrease of 8.7 per cent compared to the same period last year.

"Salmon was one of the species which saw a decline in volume. A decrease of 6 per cent compared to the first quarter of last year. In the short term, this has helped to lift prices to historical highs", says Christian Chramer.

The first quarter also saw a volume decrease for important white fish species such as cod and haddock, while snow crab, pollock and mackerel experienced volume growth in the first quarter.

A record quarter for skrei

Despite lower quotas, a lot of bad weather and a late skrei season, the first quarter was notable for a high export value for fresh whole skrei. High inflation and lower volume in the market contributed to the growth in Norwegian kroner.

"The volume of exports to Spain, an important skrei market, has increased significantly in the first quarter, and 2023 could be the best skrei season of all time in Spain. In challenging economic times, it is particularly gratifying that the demand for skrei remains so strong in important European markets", says Chramer.

Poland, the USA and Denmark were the largest export markets in the first quarter

  • Poland, the USA and Denmark were the largest markets for Norwegian seafood exports in the first quarter.
  • The export volume to the USA ended at 30,000 tonnes, which is the same as the same quarter last year.

March sets a strong record

The export value for March totalled NOK 15.7 billion. This is an increase of NOK 3.2 billion, or 26 per cent, in comparison. with the same month last year.

This represents a record high export value for Norwegian seafood in a single month and NOK 561 million higher than the previous record month, which was in October 2022.

Strong growth for salmon to the USA

  • Norway exported 263,600 tonnes of salmon worth NOK 28.8 billion in the first quarter.
  • Export value increased by NOK 5.6 billion, or 24 per cent, compared to the first quarter of last year.
  • Export volume fell by 6 per cent.
  • Poland, the USA and France were the biggest markets for salmon in the first quarter.

Exports to the USA saw the largest increase in value this quarter, with an increase in export value of NOK 988 million, or 53 per cent, compared to the same quarter last year.

Export volume to the USA ended at 19,000 tonnes, which is 18 per cent higher than in the same quarter last year.

Weakened global supply

"A weakening global supply of salmon, growth in demand coupled with a strong dollar are the explanations for the explosive growth in our exports to the US", says Paul T. Aandahl, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

There is still a shift in salmon consumption in the USA towards increased restaurant consumption after the corona pandemic, while home consumption also remains at a high level.

Growth for processed products

"For home consumption, we are seeing a shift towards more processed products, such as ready meals. Poke bowl is a menu concept that has seen strong growth in recent years", says Aandahl.

In the first quarter, fresh salmon fillets achieved record prices at NOK 148 per kg. This is NOK 23 higher than the previous record quarter, which was in the second quarter of 2022.

Fresh whole salmon also set record price highs at NOK 105 per kg. This is NOK 7 higher than the previous record quarter, which was also in the second quarter of 2022.

Salmon exports in March

  • Norway exported 93,700 tonnes of salmon worth NOK 11.3 billion in March.
  • The value increased by NOK 2.9 billion, or 34 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • The volume fell by 4 per cent.

Value growth for trout

  • Norway exported 10,200 tonnes of trout worth NOK 1.1 billion in the first quarter.
  • The export value increased by NOK 169 million, or 18 per cent, compared to the first quarter of last year.
  • Export volume fell by 12 per cent.
  • The USA, Thailand and Lithuania were the biggest markets for trout in the first quarter.

Lithuania had the largest increase in export value in this quarter, with an increase of NOK 109 million compared to the same quarter last year. The export volume ended at 1,100 tonnes.

Historically high prices

In the first quarter, the price of fresh trout fillets reached historic highs, at NOK 143 per kg. This is NOK 7 higher than the previous record quarter, which was in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Fresh whole trout also reached a record price high at NOK 108 per kg. This is NOK 8 higher than the previous record quarter, which was in the second quarter of 2022.

Trout exports in March

  • Norway exported 4,100 tonnes of trout worth NOK 480 million in March.
  • The value of trout exports increased by NOK 200 million, or 71 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Trout exports grew in volume by 27 per cent.

Lower landings of fresh cod

  • Norway exported 22,800 tonnes of fresh cod worth NOK 1.4 billion in the first quarter.
  • The value of fresh cod exports increased by NOK 97 million, or 8 per cent, compared to the first quarter of last year.
  • Export volume fell by 12 per cent.
  • Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain were the biggest markets for fresh cod in the first quarter.

A lot of bad weather and late freezing conditions have contributed to significantly lower landings of fresh cod compared to last year, especially in January and February.

Exports of farmed cod on the other hand rose by a robust 81 per cent, to a total of 3,000 tonnes, in the first quarter. Farmed cod accounted for 13 per cent of the total export volume of fresh cod.

A strong quarter

"Together with a weak Norwegian krone and high price growth in the markets, this resulted in a historically high export value for fresh cod in the first quarter. NOK 97 million higher than the previous best quarter", says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

In the first quarter, the price of fresh cod fillet was NOK 127 per kg. This is NOK 6 per kg higher than the previous record quarter, which was in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Fresh whole cod also reached high prices at NOK 56 per kg. This is NOK 2 per kg higher than the previous record quarter, which was in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Fresh cod exports in March

  • Norway exported 11,200 tonnes of fresh cod worth NOK 648 million in March.
  • The export value increased by NOK 110 million, or 20 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Export volume was unchanged.

A big increase in the export value of skrei

  • Norway exported 3,600 tonnes of skrei worth NOK 246 million in the first quarter.
  • The value of skrei exports increased by NOK 40 million, or 20 per cent, compared to the first quarter of last year.
  • Export volume fell by 6 per cent.
  • Denmark, Spain and Sweden were the largest markets for skrei in the first quarter.

This is a record high export value for skrei in a single quarter, NOK 2 million higher than the previous record quarter, which was in the first quarter of 2020.

Skrei also achieved a record high price at NOK 69 per kg. This is NOK 15 per kg higher than the previous record quarter, which was in the first quarter of 2022.

Volume growth in March

"Despite a significant decrease in landings of fresh cod, the export volume of skrei fell by only 6 per cent in the first quarter. In March, when the landings of fresh cod picked up again, we saw volume growth for the export of skrei of as much as 22 per cent, to a total of 1,700 tonnes", says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

The transit country Denmark was, as usual, the largest recipient of skrei, but Spain saw volume growth of 28 per cent in the first quarter, and a total export volume of 905 tonnes.

Strengthened position in Spain

"Norwegian fresh cod and skrei continue to strengthen their position in Spain. Even though the domestic consumption of seafood in Spain has decreased by 10 per cent so far this year, the export of fresh cod from Norway is increasing", says Bjørn-Erik Stabell, the Norwegian Seafood Council's envoy to Spain.

Skrei exports in March

  • Norway exported 1,700 tonnes of skrei worth NOK 109 million in March.
  • The value of exports increased by NOK 36 million, or 48 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Export volume grew by 22 per cent.

A weak quarter for frozen cod

  • Norway exported 18,600 tonnes of frozen cod worth NOK 1 billion in the first quarter.
  • The value of exports fell by NOK 275 million, or 21 per cent, compared to the first quarter of last year.
  • Export volume fell by 37 per cent.
  • Great Britain, China and Poland were the largest markets for frozen cod in the first quarter.

In line with lower quotas, landings of frozen cod fell in the first quarter. This resulted in a significantly lower volume of exports.

A weak Norwegian krone and higher prices in the markets for both frozen whole cod and frozen fillets helped dampen the fall in export value.

Growth to the UK

The United Kingdom was the cod market with the greatest increase in value this quarter, with an increase in export value of NOK 74 million, or 35 per cent, compared to the same quarter last year.

The export volume to Great Britain ended at 4,100 tonnes, which is 16 per cent higher than in the same quarter last year. Exports of both frozen fillets and frozen whole cod to the UK increased in the first quarter.

Increased food prices set against weakened purchasing power

"Skyrocketing inflation has taken a toll on purchasing power in the UK, and food prices have risen sharply in the past year. Nevertheless, the British are increasing their imports of frozen cod from Norway. The UK's increased customs tariffs against imports of cod from Russia make it more attractive to buy Norwegian cod, and we expect the growth of the UK to continue in the future", says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Frozen cod fillets have reached a record high price at NOK 98 per kg. This is NOK 5 per kg higher than the previous record quarter, which was in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Frozen cod exports in March

  • Norway exported 5,600 tonnes of frozen cod worth NOK 308 million in March.
  • The value of exports fell by NOK 182 million, or 37 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Export volume fell by 44 per cent.

A good quarter for clip fish

  • Norway exported 21,600 tonnes of clip fish to a value of NOK 1.4 billion in the first quarter.
  • The value increased by NOK 387 million, or 38 per cent, compared to the first quarter of last year.
  • Export volume grew by 11 per cent.
  • Brazil, Portugal and the Dominican Republic were the largest markets for clip fish in the first quarter.

For cod clip fish, export volume fell 2 per cent to a total of 4,900 tonnes, while pollock clip fish increased by 22 per cent to a total of 14,400 tonnes in the first quarter.

Brazil had the largest increase in value this quarter, with an increase in export value of NOK 182 million, or 80 per cent, compared to the same quarter last year.

Increased volume to Brazil

The export volume for clip fish of cod, pollock and tusk increased to Brazil in the first quarter. Export volume ended at 5,900 tonnes, 46 per cent higher than in the same quarter last year.

"In recent years, Brazil has had major challenges with the corona pandemic and weak economic development. A small bright spot is that consumer confidence is now far more positive than before. Together with a stronger local currency, this contributes to our hope that the growth in clip fish exports will continue", says Randi Bolstad, the Norwegian Seafood Council's envoy to Brazil.

Record high prices for pollack clip fish

Record high prices have been achieved for whole pollock clip fish at NOK 49 per kg. This is NOK 2 per kg higher than the previous record quarter, which was in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Clip fish exports in March

  • Norway exported 6,500 tonnes of clip fish to a value of NOK 462 million in March.
  • Export value increased by NOK 146 million, or 46 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Export volume grew by 15 per cent.

Growth in export value of salted fish

  • Norway exported 6,600 tonnes of salted fish to a value of NOK 497 million in the first quarter.
  • Export value increased by NOK 1 million compared to the first quarter last year.
  • Export volume fell by 17 per cent.
  • Portugal, Greece and Spain were the biggest markets for salted fish in the first quarter.

With lower landings of fresh cod, there has been less volume available for salting. This was particularly evident in March, where the export volume of salted whole cod fell by a whopping 32 per cent from the same month last year.

Salted whole cod set record prices at NOK 84 per kg. This is NOK 6 per kg higher than the previous record quarter, which was in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Salted fish exports in March

  • Norway exported 3,500 tonnes of salted fish worth NOK 279 million in March.
  • The value of salted fish exports fell by NOK 37 million, or 12 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Export volume fell by 26 per cent.

Growth in volume and value for dried fish

  • Norway exported 1,100 tonnes of dried fish to a value of NOK 280 million in the first quarter.
  • The value of exports increased by NOK 76 million, or 37 per cent, compared to the first quarter of last year.
  • There is a growth in export volume of 2 per cent.
  • Italy, Nigeria and Croatia were the biggest markets for dried fish in the first quarter.

Exports to Italy had the greatest increase in value in this quarter, with an increase in export value of NOK 61 million, or 40 per cent, compared to the same quarter last year.

The export volume to Italy ended at 720 tonnes, which is 4 tonnes lower than in the same quarter last year.

Increased competition for raw material

"The export volume of dried fish in the first quarter has in recent years been relatively stable at around 1,100 tonnes. The development in the rest of the year is more unpredictable. Lower cod quotas lead to increased competition for the raw material to produce both dried fish and other cod products. Even with significantly higher stockfish prices, this may put a damper on how much stockfish is produced and exported this year", says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Whole dried cod achieved a record high price for at NOK 272 per kg. This is NOK 9 per kg higher than the previous record quarter, which was in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Dried fish exports in March

  • Norway exported 325 tonnes of dried fish to a value of NOK 86 million in March
  • The value of fried fish exports increased by NOK 31 million, or 56 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Export volume fell by 5 per cent.

Egypt was the biggest export market for herring

  • Norway exported 82,100 tonnes of herring worth NOK 1.2 billion in the first quarter.
  • The value of herring exports increased by NOK 164 million, or 15 per cent, compared to the first quarter of last year.
  • Export volume fell by 8 per cent.
  • Egypt, Poland and Germany were the biggest markets for herring exports in the first quarter.

Egypt continues its strong development and is by far the largest market for herring in the first quarter.

"We have previously seen that good volumes of both herring and mackerel have gone to Egypt, but not at such high prices as now. This is despite reports of continued challenges with currency availability, payment and transaction challenges", says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Strong fillet market in Europe

Market visits last year showed that Egypt has state-of-the-art smokehouses where they smoke both herring and mackerel. Herring and mackerel of better quality are now more in demand than before, and the market is increasingly discriminating when it comes to choosing quality products.

"The fillet market in Europe was also strong in the first quarter, and we see a nice increase in the important markets of Germany and Poland, not only in value, but also in volume. In Germany, we see that the consumption of herring in February this year increased by 12 per cent compared to February last year", says Jan Eirik Johnsen.

Herring exports in March

  • Norway exported 26,400 tonnes of herring worth NOK 404 million in March.
  • The value of herring exports increased by NOK 17 million, or 4 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Export volume fell by 18 per cent.

A record quarter for mackerel

  • Norway exported 71,400 tonnes of mackerel to a value of NOK 1.4 billion in the first quarter.
  • The value of mackerel exports increased by NOK 243 million, or 21 per cent, compared to the first quarter of last year.
  • Mackerel exports grew by 16 per cent.
  • South Korea, Japan and Vietnam were the biggest markets for mackerel in the first quarter.

Mackerel exports in the first quarter are characterized by strong demand and high price levels. Overall, this results in the strongest first quarter for mackerel recorded, with a value of NOK 1.41 billion.

Export volumes to Asia and Europe are stable, while Africa is increasing as a result of Egypt increasing its imports of Norwegian mackerel.

Increased direct imports to Japan

In Asia, Japan has increased its direct imports from Norway.

"In previous years, much of the mackerel has gone via China for processing. This year, however, exports to China are falling, and we must go back to 2005 to see as high a statistic for direct export from Norway to Japan as we are seeing now in the first quarter", says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

The processing industry needs raw materials

He explains this change as follows:

"This was due both to the fact that the local catches have been weak and that the industry in Japan needs raw material. At the same time, there will be some challenges in China related to ports and production capacity", says Jan Eirik Johnsen.

Mackerel exports in March

  • Norway exported 15,600 tonnes of mackerel to a value of NOK 319 million in March
  • The value of mackerel exports increased by NOK 94 million, or 42 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • There is a growth in volume of 39 per cent.

King crab sees growth in volume but decline in value.

  • Norway exported 486 tonnes of king crab worth NOK 244 million in the first quarter.
  • The value of king crab exports fell by NOK 2 million, or 1 per cent, compared to the first quarter of last year.
  • King crab export volume grew by 22 per cent.
  • The USA, Hong Kong SAR and South Korea were the largest markets for king crab in the first quarter.

In the first quarter, the export of king crab was driven by increased volumes and a weakened krone.

Live king crab increased by 30 per cent to 375 tonnes, while the volume for frozen king crab increased by 2 per cent to a total of 110 tonnes.

Export price falls for live and frozen king crab

"The export price for live and frozen king crab, on the other hand, has fallen by 13 per cent and 25 per cent respectively compared to last year's record high prices. Although export prices are falling, they remain at a historically high level, helped by a weakened krone", says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

In the first quarter, the USA was the largest growth market for Norwegian king crab, with an increase in the export value of 19 million, or 35 per cent, compared to the same quarter last year.

The USA is the largest king crab market

"The American market is the largest market and accounts for 31 per cent of the export value of king crab in the first quarter. This is due to an increased export volume of both frozen and live king crab of 43 per cent in the first quarter, or 147 tonnes more than last year", says Josefine Voraa.

Better logistics and increased demand

The United States is the largest market for frozen red king crab. After logistics and demand picked up again after the corona pandemic, it has also been the largest market for live king crab from Norway.

"For frozen king crab, the market has been slower as a result of over 9,000 tonnes of king crab being imported from Russia before the sanctions came into effect on 23 June 2022. When the market runs out of Russian king crab in stock, Norway will be the only direct supplier of red king crab to the American market", says Josefine Voraa.

King crab exports in March

  • Norway exported 158 tonnes of king crab worth NOK 83 million in March
  • The value of king crab exports increased by NOK 3 million, or 4 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • King crab export volume grew by 35 per cent.

Strong growth for snow crab

  • Norway exported 2,800 tonnes of snow crab to a value of NOK 296 million in the first quarter.
  • The value of snow crab exports increased by NOK 94 million, or 46 per cent, compared to the first quarter of last year.
  • Exports volume of snow crab grew by 197 per cent.
  • The USA, the Netherlands and Denmark were the biggest markets for snow crab in the first quarter.

After a strong fishing season with high catch rates, good ice conditions and high participation, there was a record early fishing stop for the snow crab fleet, with effect from 3 April. This means that the quota of 7,117 tonnes was completed in record time.

The export figures also show a strong increase in volume in the first quarter, with a volume increase of 933 tonnes, or 197 per cent.

Challenging market situation

"Export prices, on the other hand, do not paint as positive a picture, with a decrease compared to the first quarter of last year of 51 per cent to an average of NOK 104 per kg. This testifies to a still challenging market situation for snow crab. Not since 2016 has the export price been below NOK 119 per kg in the first quarter", says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Large inventories and sanctions

The decline in the export price has been characterized by large inventories and sanctions against Russian crab in the USA, in addition to increased quotas for snow crab in Canada.

These factors have contributed to the fact that the market price in the USA is now at the level of what it was in 2016, and for certain sizes this will mean 65 per cent below the record levels set in January 2022.

Increased exports to the USA

"The USA is by far the largest market for frozen snow crab globally and was also the largest market for Norwegian snow crab in the first quarter. Of the total exports of 2,845 tonnes in the first quarter, 1,066 tonnes, or 44 per cent, went to the USA. This contributed to the export value there increasing by 102 million, or 264 per cent, compared with the first quarter of last year", says Voraa.

Snow crab exports in March

  • Norway exported 1,400 tonnes of snow crab to a value of NOK 146 million in March.
  • The export value of snow crab increased by NOK 53 million, or 57 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Export volume grew by 212 per cent.

A strong first quarter for prawn

  • Norway exported 4,100 tonnes of prawns worth NOK 274 million in the first quarter.
  • The value of prawn exports increased by NOK 67 million, or 32 per cent, compared to the first quarter of last year.
  • Prawn export volume grew by 48 per cent.
  • Sweden, Great Britain and Iceland were the biggest markets for prawns in the first quarter.

Increased catches in the Barents Sea in the north and in the south so far this year have had an impact on the export volume of prawn in the first quarter of this year.

Not since 2008 have more than 4,000 tonnes of prawn been exported in the first three months of the year. Compared to the first quarter of last year, 1,321 tonnes or 48 per cent more prawns have been exported.

Increased prices and a weak krone

"Increased export prices for frozen peeled prawn and frozen cooked prawn combined with a weakened krone has also contributed positively to the export value being NOK 66 million, or 32 per cent, higher than in the first quarter of last year", says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Sweden becomes the largest export market for Norwegian prawn

Sweden was the largest market in the first quarter with strong volume growth in fresh cooked peeled prawn of 82 per cent and freshwater prawn of 143 per cent.

Increased share of large households

"The price increase for frozen peeled prawn was 17 per cent in the first quarter. The volume of frozen peeled prawn, on the other hand, fell by 6 per cent as a result of slower grocery sales. At the same time, the share going to large households is increasing, which is a segment with a higher willingness to pay", explains Voraa.

In total, the export value to Sweden increased by NOK 17 million, to NOK 87 million in total.

Prawn exports in March

  • Norway exported 1,400 tonnes of prawns worth NOK 97 million in March

  • The value of prawn exports increased by NOK 31 million, or 47 per cent, compared to March last year.

  • There is a growth in prawn export volume of 75 per cent.

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