Chile’s Q2 salmon export totals show some recovery

Published on
July 13, 2021

Chile’s exports of salmon and trout reached USD 1.15 billion (EUR 969 million) in the second quarter of 2021, up 11.3 percent from the same quarter of last year.

In volume terms, the amount of salmon and trout exported in Q2 was 157,098 metric tons (MT), down 9 percent from 172,638 MT in the same quarter of 2020. However, the average price per kilogram was up to USD 7.30 (EUR 6.10) compared to USD 6.00 (EUR 5.50) in the year-ago period, according to the latest figures from the Chilean Salmon Council – an association that includes AquaChile, Cermaq, Mowi, and Salmones Aysén, four of Chile’s largest salmon-producing companies.

The scenario was the exact opposite of the first quarter of the year, when Chile increased exports of salmon and trout by 6.6 percent to 223,000 metric tons (MT) but the average price fell by more than 10 percent to USD 5.80 (EUR 4.80) per kilogram, leading to a decrease in value of 4.9 percent to USD 1.28 billion (EUR 1.06 billion) when compared to the first quarter of 2020.

“In the accumulated first six months of 2021, we have exported the same amount of tons of salmon and trout with respect to that accumulated in June 2020, but with better average prices, due to a significant recovery in demand after the effects of the sanitary restrictions imposed by the pandemic and the reduction in sales of the HORECA (hotel, restaurant, and catering) channel,” the council said in a press release.

The main destination markets in 2020 were the U.S., Japan, Brazil, Russia, and China, which accounted for 81.4 percent of Chile’s salmon and trout exports, according to the council’s Quarterly Report on Salmon Exports, based on information from the Central Bank and the National Customs Service.

Chile’s exports to the United States, the country’s top market, surged 41 percent during the second quarter, following the upward trend observed in February and March. Japan, Chile’s second-largest importer, actually saw a 48 percent drop in Q2, which the council attributed to “unusually high salmon exports during the second quarter of 2020.”

The value of Chile’s salmon exports to Brazil jumped 150 percent in April-June, recovering from a sharp drop registered in the second quarter of 2020, and Chile’s shipments to Russia jumped by 27 percent.

China imported USD 25 million (EUR 21 million) worth of Chilean salmon as it drastically reduced purchases of imported seafood due to concerns over a linkage made by the Chinese government between COVID-19 and frozen imports, despite statements from both the World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration saying it’s highly unlikely the virus can be transmitted through food.

“Considering the evolution of exports in the first half of the year and as the vaccination process continues, a recovery in sales in hotels and restaurants is expected, which, added to the growth of new distribution channels as sales online and retail, which increased in 2020, allow for good prospects for salmon farming in 2021,” the council said.

Photo courtesy of Chilean Salmon Council

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