Record Sales and Big Cost Increases for Norwegian Seafood Exporters

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The value of  seafood exports from Norway has never been higher in a single month than in August of 2022, when shipments to buyers abroad generated sales of NOK 12.5 billion. This was an increase of NOK 2.9 billion, or 30 per cent, compared to August of 2021. The results in the three largest markets were up significantly: North America +59%; Asia +33%; Europe +29%.

So far this year, the export value of Norwegian seafood has grown by NOK 21.2 billion, or 29 per cent, to NOK 94 billion, compared to the first eight months of 2021.

”It is the particularly high volumes and prices for salmon that drove export records in August. This was the best single month of all time for salmon measured in value, while there also was an August record for pollock, trout, haddock and the entire whitefish category,” said Børge Grønbech, acting chief executive officer of the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC).

Børge Grønbech

”At the same time, we are in a period of high inflation, lower purchasing power, challenging logistics and increased production costs. In addition, a strengthening of the krone against the euro, as we have seen in August, is a challenging factor for exporters. This means that we are still in challenging times in which to conduct global trade,” added Grønbech.

However, compared to last year, home consumption of seafood is falling in Europe.

“This is to be expected since more people this year were traveling on holiday during August and eating their meals outside the home. So, more seafood went to the hotel, restaurant and canteen segment. These are important and well-paying purchasers of Norwegian seafood,”, said Grønbech.

August Export Value as High as All of 1990
“There is still great global demand for Norwegian seafood, and that is good news. If we compare the value of Norwegian seafood exports in August this year, they are equivalent to the entire export total of 1990. This illustrates how strong the development has been,” said Grønbech.

Here are the record numbers and trends: 120,700 tons of salmon with a value of NOK 9.2 billion were exported in August; export volume increased by 7 per cent, while value rose by NOK 2.3 billion, or 34 per cent compared to August of 2021; Poland, Denmark and the USA were the biggest markets.

Paul T. Aandahl

“Although prices have fallen compared to earlier this year, salmon prices were at a record high during the month of August”, said Paul T. Aandahl, an NSC seafood analyst. “The biggest growth in value was the Polish market, with NOK 366 million. There was also great growth towards other nations that process salmon, such as the Netherlands and Lithuania.”

Value Growth for Trout
As for trout statistics, 5,400 tons worth NOK 492 million were exported in August.Though this was a volume decrease of 16 per cent, value rose by NOK 91 million, or 23 per cent, compared to the same month in 2021, with the USA, Armenia and Thailand ranking as the biggest markets.

“Even though the export volume has fallen compared to the volume in August last year, the price increase for trout led to the strongest August month ever measured in value,” emphasized Aandahl.

Impact of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
The war in Ukraine has led to major changes in the flow of trout.

“Belarus and Ukraine are the two markets which have seen the biggest drop in value for trout in August,” reported Aandahl. “The markets with the greatest growth are Lithuania and Kazakhstan.”

Lower Landings of Fresh Cod
Landings of fresh cod in August were significantly lower than in the same month last year, which resulted in a lower export volume of 1,600 tons, including fillets, that generated revenue of NOK 88 million. Shipments fell by 34 per cent, and value declined by NOK 6 million, or 6 per cent. Denmark, Sweden and Germany were the biggest markets.

“Export volume decreased to all major destination markets, except for our fourth largest destination country, the United Kingdom. Here there was an increase of 14 tons, to a total of 131 tons, consisting entirely of fresh whole cod”, said NSC Seafood Analyst Eivind Hestvik Brækkan.

Eivind Hestvik Brækkan

The export price of fresh fillets also reached an all-time high, at NOK 122 per kg, up from NOK 85 per kg in August of 2021. However, the export volume fell from 221 to 189 tons.

Strong Month for Frozen Cod
Norway exported 5,800 tons of frozen cod worth NOK 314 million in August. That amounted to a volume increase of 67 per cent, while value increased by NOK 171 million, or 120 per cent, compared to August of 2021.
China, the United Kingdom and Poland were the biggest markets during August of this year.

“The export price of frozen whole cod remains at a record high level, with a price of over NOK 54 per kilo for the third month in a row. The volume to all the largest destination markets is increasing sharply, with the greatest growth seen in China,” said Brækkan.

The UK export market was strong, with volume of approximately 1,400 tons in August up from just 600 tons last year.

Value Growth for Clip Fish
Norwegian suppliers exported 6,500 tons of clip fish fetching NOK 418 million in August. While volume slipped by 6 per cent, value increased by NOK 58 million, or 16 per cent, compared to August of 2021.

Buyers in Portugal, Brazil and the Dominican Republic were the biggest recipients of Norwegian rockfish in August. However, export volume to Portugal, the No. 1 market, fell by 27 per cent, or 500 tons to weigh in at 1,400 tons.

”The development in Portugal will be very exciting to follow in the future. The country has the highest economic growth in the EU, and it is likely that 2022 will be a record year for tourism. At the same time, high inflation means that many Portuguese people’s purchasing power is under pressure. Like most other foodstuffs, the prices of clip fish in the shops are also going up,” said Johnny Thomassen, the Norwegian Seafood Council’s envoy to Portugal.

Johnny Thomassen

Pollock clip fish recoded a volume increase of 10 per cent, or 400 tons, to a total of 3,900 tons, while cod clip fish saw a volume decrease of 32 per cent, or 900 tons, to a total of 1,800 tons.

Record Month for Herring
Norway exported 14,000 tons of herring worth NOK 210 million in August, as volume rose by 24 per cent and value increased by NOK 68 million, or 48 per cent, compared to August of 2021. Germany, Poland and Lithuania were the biggest markets.

Exports of NOK 210 million for August set a record. The previous one was NOK 192 million in 2018. In terms of volume, however, the high point still stands at 30,000 tons, which was achieved 1997.

Jan Eirik Johnsen

“Rising prices are driving the total export value up compared to last year. At the same time, it is reported that there is somewhat less demand in some markets and the prices of some products fell from July to August,” said Jan Eirik Johnsen, the NSC’s manager for pelagic species
Increased Consumption in Germany
In an important market such as Germany, the consumption of herring increased sharply during the coronavirus pandemic, but fell back when Covid-19 restrictions were lifted. Now, however, the signs are that consumption is on the way up again because of price increases for food and energy. Consumption in July increased by 7 per cent compared to the same period last year.

“If we look at exports to the various markets, there can be large variations from year to year. This is mainly related to the fact that most herring products are frozen products that can be stored, and that the catch pattern varies from year to year,” explained Johnsen.

Decline for Mackerel
Norway exported 26,900 tons of mackerel worth NOK 464 million in August. Volume decreased by 20 per cent, while value slipped 1% to NOK 5 million, compared to August last year. China, Egypt and Japan were the biggest markets.

This year, as last year, there was a record early start for mackerel fishing due to a high quota and lack of access to fishing in the British zone.

“While there are reports of variable quality, which is expected in the summer months, at the same time we see that there has been a lot of good quality mackerel,” said Johnson. “We also see this reflected in exports, where the quality-conscious Asian markets have got off to a good start. There is an increase in exports compared to last year for important markets such as Japan South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.”

Good Month for Prawn Sales
Approximately 2,200 tons of prawns worth NOK 108 million were exported in August, reflecting an increase in volume of 134 per cent and a value gain of 56 per cent to NOK 39 million compared to August of 2021.
Iceland, Sweden and the UK were the biggest markets.

So far this year there has been good prawn fishing in the Barents Sea, where landings have risen. This positively affects the export of frozen prawns in August.

Increased Exports of Raw Prawns
“Iceland was the largest recipient of Norwegian prawns, with 1,270 tons of frozen industrial prawns imported in August. Thus, the development that we have seen so far this year continues with increased exports of frozen raw prawns to further processors in Iceland,” said Josefine Voraa, the NSC’s manager for shellfish.

Josefine Voraa

Shipments of frozen peeled prawns rose by 2 per cent in volume and 14 per cent in value. The UK continues to be a strong market for this product, with an increase in exports of NOK eight million (+81%) and 86 tons (+65%) compared to August last year.

Exports to Sweden declined by 29 per cent in volume and 17 per cent in value, respectively. The biggest decrease was for frozen peeled prawns under 2 kg.

Volume Decline for King Crab
Norwegian suppliers exported 191 tons of king crab worth NOK 103 million in August, reflecting a volume decrease of 41 per cent and value downturn of NOK 45 million, or 31 per cent, compared to August last year.
South Korea, Hong Kong and the USA were the biggest markets in August.

“August is usually one of the best months for exports of Norwegian king crab. However, demanding logistics to certain Asian live markets and a slower demand for frozen king crab meant that export volume was down compared to previous years,” said Voraa.

Continuing High Prices
The export price for both live and frozen king crab remains at high levels. The price for live catch in August was NOK 513 per kg, which was 17 per cent higher than in 2021 and 55 per cent higher than in 2020. For frozen king crab, the price was NOK 855 per kg, which was 56 per cent higher than in 2021 and 145 per cent higher than in August of 2020.

Growth in Value for Snow Crab Exports
Norway exported 65 tons of snow crab worth NOK 10 million in August, reflecting a volume increase of 102 per cent and a gain in value of NOK 2 million, or 18 per cent compared to August last year. The USA was the largest market.