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Norwegian Seafood Exports Fall For First Time in 18 Months

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Norwegian Seafood Exports Fall For First Time in 18 Months

Norwegian Seafood Exports Fall For First Time in 18 Months
May 11
11:25 2020
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For the first time since September 2018, Norway has experienced a fall in seafood exports. In April, 183,000 tonnes of Norwegian seafood was exported to a value of NOK 8.2 billion. This is a decrease of NOK 666 million, or 8 per cent, compared with April 2019.

“A significant fall in demand for salmon and whitefish in April as a result of the corona crisis is the main reason. This can be evidenced by the decline of the restaurant segment and increased air freight costs for the transportation of fresh products to overseas markets,” says Director of Market Insight and Market Access at the Norwegian Seafood Council, Tom-Jørgen Gangsø.

So far this year, NOK 36.7 billion of Norwegian seafood has been exported. This is an increase in value by 2.2 billion, or 6 per cent, compared to the same period last year.

“This year can be split in two for seafood exports, before and after the corona crisis. 2020 started off well with a strong increase in value due to increased demand for Norwegian seafood products. This positive trend came to an abrupt end within the introduction of measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, which is why we are seeing exports fall for the first time in 18 months,” says Director of Market Insight and Market Access in the Norwegian Seafood Council, Tom-Jørgen Gangsø.

“Local measures to reduce the spread of the virus lead to changes in the flow of goods. This is especially true for fresh fish. For example, we see growth in a market like Spain, while there is a decline in Italy. We also find that the corona crisis has led to layoffs and increased unemployment globally. There is considerable uncertainty about how weakened purchasing power will affect demand for Norwegian seafood in the long run. We are already seeing a fall in demand for clipfish, including in Brazil” says Gangsø.

Fall in export value for salmon

83,100 tonnes of salmon were exported to a value of NOK 5.4 billion in April. This is a 3 per cent reduction in volume, while the value fell by NOK 813 million, or 13 per cent, compared with April last year.

“Reduced prices due to lower demand and increased air freight costs have led to a fall in export value in April”, says Seafood Analyst Paul T. Aandahl of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

So far this year, 334,600 tonnes of salmon have been exported, worth NOK 23.7 billion. This represents an increase in the volume of 1 per cent, while the value has increased by NOK 862 million, or 4 per cent. The average price for fresh whole salmon in April was NOK 57.71 per kg, compared to NOK 68.45 per kg in April last year. Poland, France and the United States were the largest importers of salmon from Norway in April.

Differences between markets

There is a large change in the flow of goods to individual markets. Some markets have, to a greater extent than others, been able to compensate for reduced restaurant consumption with increased consumption at home. In markets such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea, consumption of Norwegian salmon is increasing, while it is declining in tourism-dependent markets such as Thailand and Singapore.

“In Europe, the supply of salmon is increasing in markets that largely refine Norwegian salmon, such as Poland and Lithuania. Exports also increase to consumer markets such as Spain and Germany, while falling to Italy and France. This happens a lot because of local measures that make normal sales of fresh fish challenging. Reduced freedom of movement prevents consumers from shopping as normal, thus shifting sales of fresh salmon towards products with longer shelf life. The result is that we will not be compensated for the loss of the restaurant sector,” says Seafood Analyst Paul T. Aandahl with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Growth in Spain

Spain is one of the markets that has grown the most in value and volume so far this year. The export figures for April show that this growth is continuing. This is unique since Spain has been severely affected by the corona crisis.

“Much is due to Norwegian seafood’s strong position in Spain, especially when it comes to salmon. Norwegian salmon has in just a few years become the number one favourite fish of the Spaniards, both in the restaurant and at home, for every day and for parties. In the wake of the corona crisis, Spanish salmon consumption has shifted from the restaurant market to the dinner table at home,” explains the Norwegian Seafood Council’s fisheries envoy to Spain, Bjørn-Erik Stabell.

Unlike other countries, the fresh produce discs in Spain have been open during the corona crisis. “In marketing campaigns, we have in recent weeks shown the Spaniards how to make healthy and good Norwegian seafood at home. In a survey, 40 per cent of Spaniards say that healthy food has become more important to them during the state of emergency, and there appears to have been an increased demand for Norwegian seafood,” says the Norwegian Seafood Council’s fisheries envoy to Spain, Bjørn-Erik Stabell.

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