Bumper salmon, herring trades help deliver a record October for Norwegian seafood

Published on
November 7, 2019

Norwegian seafood companies exported 291,000 metric tons (MT) of fisheries and aquaculture products worth NOK 10.9 billion (USD 1.2 billion, EUR 1.1 billion) in October – a record total value for the month, with the volume and value increasing by 8 percent and 9 percent respectively compared with a year previously.

In the first 10 months of 2019, Norway exported 2.2 million MT of seafood worth NOK 87 billion (USD 9.5 billion, EUR 8.6 billion), with the volume down by 4 percent but the value rising by 8 percent or NOK 6.3 billion (USD 688.7 million, EUR 621.4 million) year-on-year.

The Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) said that there had been significant volume growth in the country’s salmon and herring exports, thanks to increased harvesting and catches, and this had contributed to the increase in value. In addition, the weak Norwegian krone continues to be “a major contributor” to the export growth across all of the country’s key seafood species.

Tom-Jørgen Gangsø, director of market insight and market access with the NSC, said that throughout 2019, the Norwegian kroner has depreciated against the major currencies, and this has helped to increase the export value when measured in Norwegian kroner.

Measured against the U.S. dollar, across the year the kroner has been 8 percent weaker compared with the same period last year, and measured against the Euro and the British pound, the Norwegian krone has been approximately 2.5 percent weaker, he said.

Norway’s salmon exporters sold 117,000 MT of products valued at NOK 6.7 billion (USD 732.4 million, EUR 660.8 million) last month, up 14 percent in volume and 4 percent in value compared with October 2018. So far this year, Norway has exported 922,000 MT of salmon for NOK 59 billion (USD 6.4 billion, EUR 5.8 billion). This represents a year-on-year volume increase of 7 percent, while the value increased by 6 percent.

With volumes increasing, the average price for whole fresh salmon was down to NOK 51.89 (USD 5.67, EUR 5.12) per kg, compared with NOK 58.35 (USD 6.38, EUR 5.76) per kg in October 2018.

Poland and France provided the largest markets for these products, while China showed the highest growth in demand.

Also in the salmonid sector, Norway’s trout trade for the year to date has increased by 31 percent in volume to 47,000 MT worth NOK 3 billion (USD 328 million, EUR 295.9 million), which is up 25 percent year-on-year.

In the pelagic category, Norway exported 38,800 MT of herring valued at NOK 357 million (USD 39 million, EUR 35.2 million) in October. This was a volume increase of 116 percent and a value increase of 91 percent compared with October last year.

So far this year, Norway has exported 216,000 MT of herring for NOK 1.9 billion (USD 207.8 million, EUR 187.4 million), representing a 10 percent increase in volume and a 5 percent decline in value year-on-year.

Nigeria and Egypt provided the largest herring markets in October.

According to NSC Analyst, Ingrid K. Pettersen, the increase in herring export volumes was a consequence of doubling the volume of catches, measured against October last year. The increase in exports was mainly for frozen whole herring, and the price fell compared with October last year.

Price-sensitive markets in Africa, including Nigeria and Egypt, have increased the supply of frozen whole herring, she said.

Norway also exported 66,000 MT of mackerel worth NOK 1.3 billion (USD 142.2 million, EUR 128.3 million) last month, with the volume down 14 percent and the value rising 2 percent. To date, the country has exported 173,000 MT of mackerel for NOK 3.1 billion (USD 339.1 million, EUR 305.9 million), up 2 percent increase in volume and 26 percent in value.

Japan was the largest market for Norwegian mackerel in October.

In the whitefish sector, Norway last month exported 2,000 MT of fresh cod products valued at NOK 107 million (USD 11.7 million, EUR 10.6 million), with the volume and value 23 percent and 44 percent higher than in October 2018, respectively. In the first 10 months of 2019, with quotas down on last year, Norway exported 46,000 MT of fresh cod worth NOK 2 billion (USD 218.8 million, EUR 197.4 million), down 21 percent and 5 percent respectively.

Norway also exported 4,400 MT of frozen cod valued at NOK 192 million (USD 21 million, EUR 18.9 million) last month, with the volume and value falling by 21 percent and 16 percent respectively. So far this year, Norway has exported 58,000 MT of frozen cod for NOK 2.4 billion (USD 262.6 million, EUR 236.8 million), with the volume on par with the corresponding period of 2018 and the value rising 15 percent.

NSC’s data also found that Norway’s king crab export volume and value for the first 10 months increased by 4 percent and 14 percent respectively to 1,800 MT and NOK 557 million (USD 60.9 million, EUR 55 million).

Also, some 14,000 MT of shrimp worth NOK 993 million (USD 108.7 million, EUR 98 million) has been sold to overseas markets. This is a 57 percent increase in volume and a 36 percent rise in value.

Photo courtesy of Alessandro De Maddalena/Shutterstock

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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