Norway

Volume decline for Norwegian seafood exports in February

Fish & Seafood

Norway exported seafood worth NOK 12.8 billion in February. This is an increase of NOK 1.6 billion, or 14 per cent, from last year's same month.

Posted on Mar 18 ,00:10

Volume decline for Norwegian seafood exports in February

"Despite war and unrest in several parts of the world, Norwegian seafood exports have enjoyed a good start to the year in value, driven by high price growth and a weak Norwegian krone. However, export volume has fallen six months in a row, and we must go back to 2006 to a February month with a lower export volume of Norwegian seafood", says Christian Chramer, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Quota cuts and bad weather

In total, Norway exported 207,000 tonnes of seafood last month. This is a decrease of 17 per cent compared to February last year.

"For certain wild fish species, such as cod, lower quotas and bad weather have contributed to landings being significantly lower than in the same period last year. It has resulted in a weaker raw material supply for the land industry, and we must go back to 2013 to find a February month with a lower export volume of fresh cod", says Chramer.

Lower catch volume for salmon

There was also a decline in the export volume for salmon in February.

"This is primarily due to lower catch volume", stresses Christian Chramer.

According to the Norwegian Seafood Council's calculations, the decline in volume negatively affected the total export value in February by around NOK 600 million.

The sharp rise in prices continues

"When the export value nevertheless increases in February, it is due, among other things, to the sharp price increase. We live in troubled times where the war in Ukraine, the global shortage of raw materials and several increased costs continue to push prices up", says Chramer.

Strong currency effect

The Norwegian krone has weakened against the dollar and the euro over the past year. It also helped to lift export prices measured in the Norwegian kroner in February.

"A weakened Norwegian krone is an important driver behind the increase in value. While the export value measured in Norwegian kroner increased by 14 per cent, the value measured in euros increased by only 4 per cent. Measured in US dollars, the export value fell by 1 per cent from February last year", says Chramer.

Fall in value for Norwegian salmon to Japan

The war in Ukraine has also resulted in closed airspace over Russia and increased transport costs to Asian markets.

"Norway is experiencing strong competition in the global seafood market, and rising costs affect the flow of goods. In February, for example, the export value of Norwegian salmon to Japan fell by 15 per cent", says the Norwegian Seafood Council's managing director.

The US was the largest export market in February

In February, the USA, Poland and Denmark were the largest markets for Norwegian seafood exports.

  • The USA had the greatest value increase, with an export value of NOK 440 million, or 56 per cent, compared to the same month last year.
  • The export volume to the USA ended at 10,246 tonnes, which is 17 per cent higher than the same month last year.
  • A full 10 per cent of the export value of seafood went to the United States in February. We must go back to 1989 to find an equally high proportion of Norwegian seafood exports that went to the USA in a month.

Value growth for salmon

  • Norway exported 81,645 tonnes of salmon to a value of NOK 8.8 billion in February.
  • Export value increased by NOK 1.2 billion, or 15 per cent, compared to February last year.
  • Export volume fell by 8 per cent.
  • The USA, Poland and France were the biggest markets for salmon in February.

The USA had the greatest increase in value in February, with an export value of NOK 432 million, or 77 per cent, compared to the same month last year.

The export volume to the USA ended at 6,604 tonnes, which is 41 per cent higher than the same month last year.

Therefore, salmon exports to the USA are increasing.

"The good development in the USA is the result of several factors. Demand growth in combination with a strong currency are the most important drivers. In addition, there has been a weak development over time in salmon production in other supplier nations", says Paul T. Aandahl, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Increased demand for China

China was the second largest growth market after the USA in February.

"China has put the corona pandemic behind it, and there is a strong demand for fresh salmon. There is, therefore, an exciting development in the market", says Andreas Thorud, the Norwegian Seafood Council's envoy to China.

Reduction to Japan

On the negative side, exports to Japan declined the most in February.

"An important explanation is a strong increase in shipping costs because of closed Russian airspace. That applies in February and the last 12 months", says Aandahl.

There is a record-high price for fresh salmon fillets at NOK 148 per kg. This is NOK 9 per kg higher than the previous record month, which was in January 2023.

There is a record high price for fresh whole salmon at NOK 102 per kg. This is NOK 4 per kg higher than the previous record month, May 2022.

Fall in volume and value for trout

  • Norway exported 2,946 tonnes of trout worth NOK 325 million in February
  • The export value fell by NOK 3 million, or 1 per cent, compared to February last year.
  • Export volume fell by 26 per cent.
  • The USA, Thailand and Japan were the biggest markets for trout in February.

Lithuania had the largest increase in value in February, with an increase in export value of NOK 28 million compared to the same month last year. The export volume to Lithuania ended at 300 tonnes.

There is a record high price for fresh whole trout at NOK 106 per kg. This is NOK 4 higher than the previous record month, May 2022.

Value growth for fresh cod

  • In February, Norway exported 7,927 tonnes of fresh cod to a value of NOK 488 million.
  • The export value increased by NOK 12 million, or 2 per cent, compared to February last year.
  • Export volume fell by 21 per cent.
  • Denmark, the Netherlands, and Spain were the biggest markets for fresh cod in February.

We must go back to 2013 to find the previous month of February with a lower export volume of fresh cod.

Bad weather resulted in lower landings

"Bad weather has contributed to landings in January and February being significantly lower than in 2022, resulting in lower exports. The export of fresh fillet fell by a very significant 41 per cent in volume in February", says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Farmed cod continues to increase in volume, and 868 tonnes of farmed cod with a value of NOK 41.5 million were exported in February. This is an increase of 66 per cent in volume and 88 per cent in value.

Spain was the largest destination country for farmed cod in February, with a volume of 255 tonnes.

Increased export value for skrei

  • Norway exported 1,404 tonnes of skrei worth NOK 101 million in February
  • The value increased by NOK 17 million, or 20 per cent, compared to February last year.
  • The volume fell by 16 per cent.
  • Denmark, Spain, and Sweden were the biggest markets for skrei in February.

It was a record-high export value for skrei in a single month. The value was NOK 1 million higher than the previous record month, March 2019.

Skrei made up 20 per cent of fresh whole wild cod.

More than 20 per cent of the export of fresh whole wild cod in February was skrei, and the volume to one of our most important skrei markets in Spain increased by 8 per cent to 285 tonnes.

"In addition, significant quantities of skrei go to Spain via the transit country Denmark", says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Decrease in frozen cod

  • Norway exported 5,246 tonnes of frozen cod worth NOK 292 million in February.
  • The value of exports fell by NOK 54 million, or 16 per cent, compared to February last year.
  • Export volume fell by 32 per cent.
  • Great Britain, China and Latvia were the biggest markets for frozen cod in February.

Landings for frozen cod have also decreased this year, which results in a drop in the export volume.

Growth towards the UK market

"The export volume to the UK continues to increase, driven by increased exports of frozen whole cod. 1,228 tonnes were exported to Great Britain in February. That's 4 per cent more than the same month last year", says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Latvia saw the largest increase in value this month, with an export value of NOK 23 million, or 951 per cent, compared to the same month last year.

The export volume to Latvia ended at 431 tonnes, which is 466 per cent higher than the same month last year.

Halved export volume for cod clipfish

  • Norway exported 5,546 tonnes of clipfish to a value of NOK 324 million in February.
  • The value of exports was unchanged from the same month last year.
  • Export volume fell by 9 per cent.
  • The Dominican Republic, Brazil and Portugal were the biggest markets for rockfish in February.

While the export volume for clipfish of pollock increased by 400 tonnes to 4,300 tonnes in February, the export volume of clipfish of cod was halved and ended at 800 tonnes.

The Dominican Republic, which is one of our biggest markets for pollock clipfish, saw the biggest increase in value this month. The increase in export value was NOK 59 million, or 186 per cent, compared to the same month last year.

Historically high value

The export volume to the Dominican Republic ended at 1,975 tonnes, which is 154 per cent higher than the same month last year.

"The marked growth in volume for the Dominican Republic compared to February last year is due to a weak February last year because of full stocks in the market at that time. Compared to February 2021, the volume is roughly the same. On the other hand, export value is at a historic high", says Øystein Valanes, Manager for the Caribbean with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Growth for saltfish

  • In February, Norway exported 2,049 tonnes of salted fish to a value of NOK 141 million.
  • The value increased by NOK 24 million, or 20 per cent, compared to February last year.
  • There is a growth in the volume of 5 per cent.
  • Greece, Portugal, and Spain were the biggest markets for salted fish in February.

The export volume to Portugal fell 5 per cent in February to 671 tonnes after high growth in January.

Greece had the largest increase in value this month, with an export value of NOK 9 million, or 17 per cent, compared to the same month last year.

The export volume to Greece ended at 862 tonnes, which is 7 per cent lower than the same month last year.

Value addition for dried fish

  • In February, Norway exported 368 tonnes of dried fish to a value of NOK 97 million.
  • The value of exports increased by NOK 17 million, or 22 per cent, compared to February last year.
  • Export volume fell by 13 per cent.
  • Italy, Croatia, and Nigeria were the biggest markets for dried fish in February.

Italy had the largest increase in value this month, with an increase in export value of NOK 21 million, or 37 per cent, compared to the same month last year.

The export volume to Italy ended at 258 tonnes, which is 2 per cent lower than the same month last year.

A fall in volume for herring

  • Norway exported 27,412 tonnes of herring worth NOK 408 million in February
  • The value of exports increased by NOK 5 million, or 1 per cent, compared to February last year.
  • The volume fell by 20 per cent.
  • Poland, Egypt, and Germany were the biggest markets for herring in February.

February is the last full month of the season for NVG herring (Norwegian spring spawning herring).

Low catches in February

In February this year, around 56,000 tonnes were landed, compared to 88,000 tonnes last year.

"At the same time, 40,000 tonnes more were landed in January this year than last year. The weather and a purse seine fleet that pursued Icelandic capelin have contributed to the fact that no more herrings have been caught in February", says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Continued currency support in some markets, access to large herring, of which there has been little, and high demand in individual markets have resulted in the highest-ever prices for whole frozen NVG herring, with an average price of NOK 12.35 per kg.

Challenges in individual markets

It is well over a krone higher than the previous record from June last year of NOK 11.18 per kg. As recently as December 2021, the price of whole frozen NVG herring passed NOK 10 per kg for the first time.

"At the same time as price records are being set for individual products, there are reports of challenges related to both currency and credit insurance in individual markets", emphasizes Jan Eirik Johnsen.

Good growth for mackerel

  • Norway exported 31,015 tonnes of mackerel to a value of NOK 608 million in February.
  • The value of exports increased by NOK 126 million, or 26 per cent, compared to February last year.
  • There is a growth in export volume of 24 per cent.
  • South Korea, Japan and Vietnam were the biggest markets for mackerel in February.

The mackerel season already started in August last year and ended at the beginning of February.

Only around 1,700 tonnes were landed, compared to 3,700 tonnes in the same month last year. In total, 368,000 tonnes of mackerel were landed in the 2022/2023 season, compared to 355,000 tonnes in the previous season. This is an increase of 3.7 per cent.

Historically high prices

"The prices for both firsthand and for export are historically high. It is reported that it has never been sold at higher prices in yen to Japan than now. The price picture for mackerel for consumers has been stable in Japan for many years. Still, now there are signs that prices are rising", says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Mackerel is a traditional product that stands strong in Japan and South Korea and still has an attractive price compared to other products.

"This creates a solid demand for Norwegian mackerel", emphasizes Johnsen.

Challenges related to market access

In February, mackerel exports to China fell significantly compared to last year's period.

"The corona pandemic has created uncertainty which means that more of the processing of the Norwegian mackerel destined for Japan is done in Vietnam and Japan. The challenges in mackerel exports in the future are that Norway has worse market access conditions than competing suppliers. This applies in our most important markets, Japan and South Korea, but also in China", says Jan Eirik Johnsen.

Fall in value for king crab

  • Norway exported 173 tonnes of king crab worth NOK 81 million in February
  • The value fell by NOK 10 million, or 11 per cent, compared to February last year.
  • There is a growth in the volume of 13 per cent.
  • The USA, Hong Kong SAR and South Korea were the biggest markets for king crab in February.

84 per cent of the export volume and 82 per cent of the export value of king crab in February were live king crab.

The biggest growth for Hong Kong SAR

  • Hong Kong SAR had the largest increase in value this month, with an export value of NOK 9 million, or 175 per cent, compared to last year.
  • The export volume to Hong Kong SAR ended at 35 tonnes, 198 per cent higher than last year's last month.
  • The volume to Korea is also increasing, with 4 per cent growth, and a total of 31 tonnes exported, while to the USA the volume fell by 14 per cent to 30 tonnes.

Export prices halved for snow crab

  • In February, Norway exported 1,195 tonnes of snow crab to a value of NOK 122 million.
  • The value increased by NOK 12 million, or 11 per cent, compared to February last year.
  • There is a growth in the volume of 136 per cent.
  • The USA, the Netherlands and Japan were the biggest markets for snow crab in February.

Export volumes continue to increase in February while prices continue to fall. The export price of frozen snow crab was only NOK 102 in February, which is more than halved from last year.

The greatest growth in value to the USA

This month, the USA had the largest value growth, driven by increased export volume.

The export value to the USA increased by NOK 20 million, or 105 per cent, compared to the same month last year.

"The export volume to the USA ended at 344 tonnes, which is 227 per cent higher than the same month last year. Exports to Japan are also increasing, with an export volume of 238 tonnes, 112 per cent more than the same month last year", says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Growth in volume and value for prawn

  • Norway exported 1,521 tonnes of prawns worth NOK 87 million in February
  • The value of exports increased by NOK 15 million, or 20 per cent, compared to February last year.
  • There is a growth in the volume of 45 per cent.
  • Sweden, Iceland, and the UK were the biggest markets for prawn in February.

Iceland had the largest increase in value this month, with an increase in export value of NOK 13 million, or 271 per cent, compared to the same month last year.

"These were frozen raw prawn destined for the processing industry in Iceland. The export volume to Iceland ended at 717 tonnes, which is 268 per cent higher than in the same month last year", says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

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