Low salmon prices in June caused historic drop in Norway’s seafood export value

A sign promoting Norwegian salmon in a seafood case
Low salmon prices in June were the main culprit behind a "historic" drop in Norway's seafood export value in the month | Photo courtesy of TY Lim/Shutterstock
6 Min

A big drop in Norway’s seafood export value in June resulted in the country posting a decreased seafood export value for the first half of 2023.

Data presented by the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) reveals that Norway had a “historic” drop in seafood export value in June. Based on export numbers, the country’s export value in June 2024 dropped to NOK 12.1 billion (USD 1.14 billion, EUR 1.06 billion), a drop of 18 percent, or NOK 2.7 billion (USD 256 million, EUR 237 million), compared to the same month in 2023. 

That drop, the NSC said, is the largest single-month drop in seafood export value in history. The drop in value in June is largely to blame for a drop in seafood export value for all of H1 2024, with the country exporting seafood worth NOK 80.6 billion (USD 7.6 billion, EUR 7.1 billion), marking a 2 percent, or NOK 1.6 billion (USD 151 million, EUR 140 million), drop compared to the same period in 2023. 

Despite the drop, NSC CEO Christian Chramer said the first half of 2024 was still a solid six months for the country’s seafood exports. 

“Although there was no growth in value, the first half of the year was the second best ever in terms of value,” he said. “Only last year was better. A weak Norwegian krone and high prices for cod and salmon boosted value in the first five months of the year.”

The drop in June, Chramer said, was almost entirely driven by a drop in salmon prices. Salmon is by far the most important species in terms of value for Norway.

"Salmon still accounts for 70 percent of the total value of Norwegian seafood exports, so when the price of fresh whole salmon fell by as much as NOK 31 [USD 2.93, EUR 2.72] in June compared with the previous month, it had a major impact on the total value,” Chramer said.

The export value of salmon in H1 2024 dropped to NOK 56.3 billion (USD 5.3 billion, EUR 4.9 billion), a decrease of NOK 1.8 billion (USD 170 million, EUR 158 million), or 3 percent, compared to the same period in 2023. Exports also dropped in terms of volume, falling to 500,660 metric tons (MT), a decrease of 4 percent year over year.

Salmon’s value had grown for 36 consecutive months, NSC said, before it stalled in March and began to drop.

“The situation was demanding in the first half of the year. Biological challenges resulted in lower harvesting volumes and a change in product composition toward more fillets,” Chramer said. “In June, global competition from other producer countries also increased, which had a negative impact on prices. The battle for salmon customers has now really intensified.”

A lack of wage growth coupled with inflation has resulted in lower purchasing power in the E.U. market, Chramer said, which is partly to blame for the drop in export value. 

In contrast to salmon, the export volume and value of trout increased. Norway exported 29,839 MT of trout worth NOK 2.9 billion (USD 275 million, EUR 254 million) in H1 2024, an increase in volume of 44 percent and an increase in value of 27 percent compared to the same period of 2023. A big portion of that was thanks to a massive increase in exports to Ukraine, which grew by NOK 423 million (USD 40 million, EUR 37 million), or 282 percent.

“Ukraine is a market for both salmon and trout. Despite a 30 percent decline in the export volume of salmon, the export volume of salmonids increased by 11 percent,” NSC Seafood Analyst Paul Aandahl said. “The shift toward trout to Ukraine must be seen in the context of lower prices for trout compared with salmon.”

Trout was an exception to most species in Norway, however.

Exports of ...

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