Slow fishing in Alaska and Russia has left Chinese processors hard pressed for Pacific cod raw materials and a tightened twice frozen market in North America, reports Rob Reierson and Kyla Ganton in this week’s Tradex Foods 3-Minute Market Insight.
In Russian waters, Russian Fishing News agency reported ice and storm conditions as culprits for the poor fishing lately, about 2 percent below last year’s levels.
Fishing in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea is relatively slow too, with catches totalling just over 120 thousand metric tonnes as of March 4th.
With demand increasing domestically, more Alaskan raw materials are being kept for domestic production instead of export to China.
For this reason, single frozen prices are strong - about 10 cents stronger than this time last year, between $3.80 and $3.85 in Seattle for 8-16oz Shatterpack Pacific Cod fillets.
--- Pacific Cod raw materials have jumped about $300 per metric tonne in the past 4 months - some vendors report raw materials around the $3500 mark.
These prices are approaching Atlantic cod raw materials, which have remained strong but steady, between $3650 and $3700 per metric tonne since November.
--- The twice frozen pacific Cod market began to slow last fall, with domestic inventories around $2.80/lb on the East coast.
Since then, twice frozen loins have crept up and are now sitting at $2.85 per pound, with an expected 10 to 15 cent price increase by May.
The twice frozen fillet market is particularly short, with most inventories already allocated to contracts.
We have seen a shortage of twice frozen small fillets like the 4-8oz, which are typically in abundance this time of the year.
Small lot offers of 8-16oz twice frozen IQF pacific cod fillets are around $2.45 to $2.50 per pound on the West Coast, with replacement inventory expected to be around the $2.60 mark.
--- Buyers should prepare for these price increases by securing replacement inventory now, as Lenten demand continues to clear out domestic twice frozen inventories. Any product on the water right now will be at the new, stronger pricing.
To see the video report, click here.