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Aquaculture Boosting Supply but Markets Hesitant to Pay Current Prices

12 December 2013

ANALYSIS - Aquaculture is continuing to boost overall supply but markets are hesitant to pay current prices, pushing quotations down from earlier levels. Consumers are starting to show resistance to high salmon prices and Turkey continues to see weakening seabass prices against increasing production costs.

Fish consumption per capita continues to grow with aquaculture in the process of overtaking capture fisheries as a source of fish supply for direct human consumption.


Lower supply and high prices are the characteristics of the international shrimp trade at present, according to the FAO Globefish Quarterly Update report. Lower production of farmed shrimp associated with the disease problems in Asia and Latin America during the first half of the year and poor supply forecast for the rest of the year have pushed shrimp prices higher worldwide. 


Overall, 2013 tuna landings are lower than last year. Japan, the largest sashimi tuna market,
has become less active with lower imports during the first half of the year. The canned tuna market fared better with improved imports by the European Union and the USA. Canned tuna demand has also increased in many non-conventional markets. 


In spite of good supply cod prices have not dropped globally. Overall the supply situation for the
main species of groundfish is mixed. Taking all sources of supply into consideration, there is probably an oversupply of cod; however, cod prices in Europe and Asia have increased over the summer months.


Demand remains firm keeping tilapia prices steady and strong. Production in China is currently
reported to be down by 30 per cent while other producers in Asia, Africa and Latin America continue to intensify tilapia farming. Demand remains firm, which will help keep prices steady and strong. 


There is steady global demand for pangasius, but major markets are slowing down. VASEP has forecast lower production in 2013, which together with other measures should help stabilise pangasius prices. Imports into the EU took a step back while US imports grew marginally. Elsewhere, demand remains strong for pangasius fillet and is being met by both imported and local sources. 


Turkey has becomes the largest seabass producer but prices are weakening whilst costs continue to rise. The increasing volumes of seabass and seabream that are coming to market have led to weaker prices. Although consumers have reason to be happy, producers are in a different position as margins have taken a serious hit.


A booming salmon market finally begins to cool as growing consumer resistance to mark-ups reverses upward trend. Since the recovery that began in late 2012, the salmon market has witnessed continued driving growth and a positive price trajectory lifting export revenues
to record levels, particularly for Norwegian producers supplying EU markets. This price trend has recently been reversed, however, and there is evidence of weakening demand as high raw
material costs filter down the value chain. 


An EU ban on mackerel and herring from the Faroe Islands brings Iceland to the negotiation table. The EU has followed through with its threat to impose trade restrictions on the Faroe Islands in August, and Norway has followed suit. This means that mackerel and herring from the Faroes are banned in the EU and Norway, and the impact on the industry may soon be felt. There will be shifts in trade flows, and there may also be some price consequences as a result of this.


The decline in European imports of bivalve molluscs is slowing, but Asian demand is growing. Mussel trade within the European Union during the first six months of 2013 was dominated by intra-EU trade, with 72 per cent, or 67,300 tonnes, of imports coming from countries within the European community, in particular from Spain, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy and UK.

TheFishSite News Desk

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