Record start for Norwegian seafood exports in 2023
"Price growth is the most important reason why January was another record month for seafood exports. The export prices for salmon, cod, trout, pollock and herring were significantly higher than in January 2022", says Christian Chramer, CEO of Norway's Seafood Council.
"Despite troubled times and changing product flows, seafood exports have reached new heights. Inflation is still high in large parts of the world, and consumers in Europe have significant challenges with lower purchasing power and negative expectations for their economy going forward", says Chramer.
In January, there was a decrease in the export volume of fresh whole salmon to Europe, while China and the USA stand out with significant growth.
"Only 66 per cent of Norway's total exports of salmon measured in value went to Europe in January. This is the lowest proportion of salmon that has gone to Europe in a single month since April 1989", says Chramer.
"Seafood exports for January follow the strong trend we have seen over the past 17 months, with monthly seafood exports of over NOK 10 billion. Despite lower export volumes of salmon, cod, trout and haddock, increased export volumes of pollock and herring contributed to the increase in export value. A weaker Norwegian krone has also contributed to the record", says Chramer.
January was the 17th month in a row with seafood exports exceeding NOK 10 billion. In August 2021, seafood exports were NOK 9.6 billion
For the first time since April 1989, the USA is the largest market for Norwegian seafood exports. Norway exported NOK 1.15 billion worth of seafood to the USA in January, an increase of 41 per cent since January last year.
The USA was also the country with the largest growth in seafood exports measured in value in January, with a lift of NOK 338 million compared to January last year. The export volume to the USA ended at 9,655 tonnes, which is 4 per cent lower than the same month last year.
Salmon exports to the USA have increased by 59 per cent.
While the value of other seafood species to the US, such as cod and haddock, has decreased, salmon exports have increased sharply. In January, the value of salmon exports increased by 59 per cent, or NOK 344 million, compared to the same month last year. The USA thus became Norway's most significant salmon market and the market where the value of salmon exports increased the most in the first month of the year.
"We see a strong increase in demand for Norwegian salmon in the American market", says Anne-Kristine Øen, Norway´s seafood envoy to the USA.
"There could be several reasons for this. A strong dollar and reduced competition from salmon from other nations contribute positively. The demand for salmon, in general, has increased sharply after the pandemic. We had increased food prices through 2022, and the salmon is still competitive compared to other proteins", says Øen.
"It is the increased salmon price that is driving the increase in value in January", says Paul Aandahl, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
The average export price for whole fresh salmon in January was 32 per cent higher than for the same month last year.
"Low volume, in combination with increased demand for Norwegian salmon, has lifted the export price to NOK 93.25 per kg for fresh whole salmon in January", says Aandahl.
More salmon to lands beyond Europe
"We also see a turnaround in the flow of goods. In January, 34 per cent of the salmon, measured in value, went to markets outside Europe. We must go back to 1989 to find a higher figure. Increased export volume and high prices to the USA and China have contributed most to this turnaround", says Aandahl.
Lithuania had the largest increase in export value this month, with an increase in export value of NOK 24 million, to NOK 24.7 million. Measured in product weight, exports increased from 14 tonnes last year to 287 tonnes this year.
"Landings of fresh cod in January were significantly lower than last year, which resulted in a lower export volume. This has also contributed to high prices. There is a record high price for fresh whole cod at NOK 59 per kg. This is NOK 3 per kg higher than the previous record month, which was in October 2022, and 17 per cent higher than January last year", says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
The Netherlands have increased their imports.
The Netherlands had the most significant increase in value this month, with an export value of NOK 17 million, or 326 per cent, compared to the same month last year.
"The Netherlands consumes little cod but re-exports most of it to our large cod markets in Europe. The export volume to the Netherlands ended at 394 tonnes, which is 262 per cent higher than the same month last year", explains Brækkan.
Farmed cod continues to grow.
Farmed cod continues to increase in volume, and in January, 631 tonnes of fresh whole-farmed cod were exported to a value of NOK 31 million. This is an increase of 77 tonnes from January last year and an increase in value of NOK 5 million.
"The arrival of the skrei was still ongoing at the end of January, and with lower landings, this has led to a decrease in the export volume. There is also a record high price for skrei, at NOK 82 per kg. This is NOK 16 per kg higher than the previous record month, which was in January 2022", says Brækkan.
With the new skrei investment in Japan, the volume to Japan ended at 3 tonnes in January, while only 67 kg of skrei was exported to Japan in the whole of 2022.
Growth to the UK
"Also, for frozen cod, landings in January were lower than last year, which resulted in a lower export volume. The UK had the greatest increase in value in January, with an export value of NOK 54 million, or 115 per cent, compared to the same month last year. The export volume to the UK ended at 1,345 tonnes, which is 63 per cent higher than the same month last year", says Brækkan.
Frozen whole cod and frozen fillet exports to the UK increased in January.
Sanctions against Russia lead to increased demand.
"Higher landings of frozen cod fillets may have contributed to the increased fillet exports to the UK. We see that cod prices in grocery stores in the UK increased markedly last autumn, which may have resulted from the sanctions against imports of white fish from Russia. This could be positive for the demand for Norwegian whitefish in the UK, and we also see that the export of haddock to the UK increased in January", says Brækkan.
There is also a record-high price for frozen fillet blocks, at NOK 83 per kg. This is NOK 3 per kg higher than the previous record month, which was in July 2022.
Value growth for Brazil
Brazil had the most significant increase in value this month, with an export value of NOK 184 million, or 134 per cent, compared to the same month last year. The export volume to Brazil ended at 4,577 tonnes, which is 83 per cent higher than the same month last year. This contributed to Brazil becoming the third-largest growth market for all Norwegian seafood exports in January.
"Last year, we saw a shift towards more export of cuttlefish and less cod to Brazil. Norway also exports significant volumes of tusk and long-finned rockfish to Brazil. Now in January, we had increased export volumes for all species. After several years of major challenges with the pandemic and weak economic development, households' expectations for their finances are now far more positive. This gives grounds for optimism for the demand for clip fish of all species in Brazil in 2023", says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Portugal, the biggest clip fish market
To Portugal, the export of cod clip fish increased by 80 per cent in value, and 39 per cent in volume, to a total of 968 tonnes, and an export value of NOK 100 million.
Record high prices
We have seen record-high tusk clip fish prices, at NOK 62 per kg. This is NOK 5 per kg higher than the previous record month, which was in October last year.
Pollack clipfish have also reached record-high export prices. It is now NOK 48.50 per kg.
Exports of whole salted cod increased, while the total volume decreased due to lower exports of salted pollock, ling and tusk.
Portugal had the most significant increase in value this month, with an export value of NOK 25 million, or 101 per cent, compared to the same month last year. The export volume to Portugal ended at 667 tonnes, 84 per cent higher than last year's last month.
Price record for Italy
Italy had the most significant increase in value this month, with an export value of NOK 10 million, or 17 per cent, compared to the same month last year. The export volume to Italy ended at 240 tonnes, which is 13 per cent lower than the same month last year.
The export price of dried codfish to Italy has never been higher and was NOK 283 per kg in January, NOK 2 per kg higher than the previous record month, which was in December last year.
Good fishing early in the year
"2023 has started with excellent fishing for NVG herring. This accounted for a good lift in herring exports for the year's first month. Over 40,000 tonnes more NVG herring were landed in January this year compared to the same period last year", says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
With both, an increase in exported volume (12 per cent) and a solid price increase for frozen whole NVG herring (18 per cent) as well as several of the fillet products mean that the increase in export value is a very solid 43 per cent compared to last year.
Good prices in Egypt
Egypt, which had challenges with, among other things, access to currency last year, opens strongly on whole frozen NVG herring. The price is over NOK 3.2 per kg, higher than last year's January price.
The mackerel landings in January are on par with the same month last year. Approx. 46,000 tonnes were landed, almost all of which came from foreign boats fishing around Shetland and the Orkney Islands.
This is now the third year Norwegian boats have not had access to fish in British waters - a result of the lack of an agreement with Great Britain after Brexit. They, therefore, must wait with the catches until the summer, when the mackerel arrives in the Norwegian zone.
The export volume is slightly above last year's same month, while the average price is up 7 per cent. Good demand is reported in the Asian markets, which account for two-thirds of volume and value.
Growth of live king crab in North America
The year has started well for the export of live king crabs to North America, which continues the good growth from 2022. Compared to January last year, the increase to North America is 92 per cent, or NOK 20 million.
On the other hand, exports to South Korea are still challenging and are down by 80 per cent, or NOK 12 million, compared to a weak January last year.
"The US was the biggest growth market this month. There, the increase in export value was NOK 16 million, or 81 per cent, compared to the same month last year. The export volume to the USA ended at 76 tonnes, which is 104 per cent higher than the same month last year", says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Weak development for frozen king crab
The export of frozen king crab showed a weaker development in January, with a decrease in volume of 22 per cent and value of 28 per cent. The most significant decline is in Belgium, Sweden and France.
The USA was the most significant growth market in January, with an export value of 16 million, compared to nothing last year. The export volume ended at 132 tonnes and accounted for 45 per cent of snow crab exports in January this year.
Frozen, peeled prawns had the greatest increase in value this month, with an increase in export value of 11 million, or 20 per cent, compared with the same month last year. Frozen, peeled prawns accounted for 81 per cent of the export value in January and was thus the most significant prawn product.
"The UK continued to be an important growth market for Norwegian prawns and had an increase in export value of NOK 4 million or 24 per cent. The export volume ended at 269 tonnes, 5 per cent higher than the same month last year", says Josefine Voraa.
An excellent start to prawn fishing in the south, with increased landings, has also contributed positively to the export of prawns in January. There was growth in the export of peeled prawns in brine to Sweden.
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