Results and trends of Russia's seafood import in 1st half of 2011

August 12, 2011 11:13

In the first six months of 2011 Russia's fresh fish imports as well as imports of fillets from China and Vietnam displayed a considerable increase while frozen fish imports dropped with the trends marked by rising seafood prices, reports with reference to Analytical Centre of Russia's Federal Fisheries Agency.

More specifically, overall seafood import declined by 20.6% to 326,000 MT as compared to the same period of last year, the decline happened against the background of rising volumes of food imports from foreign countries outside CIS (beyond the former USSR). Actually, Russia's import of finfish and other aquatic products was 2.4 times below the nation's import of meat and poultry.

Import of chilled fish

In the 1st half of 2011 the decline of Russia's seafood import has been restrained by a 7.7% rise of chilled fish import to 46,000 MT. In particular, chilled Atlantic salmon import (97% contributed by Norway) rose by 21.7% to 35,500 MT. The share of chilled salmon amounted to 76.1% in the total volume of chilled fish imports. Average import prices for chilled fish increased by 14% mostly due to appreciation of Norwegian salmon.

Import of frozen fish

Russia's import of frozen fish decreased by 25% or 74,000 MT mainly due to a decline of imports of frozen herring by 34% to 55,000 MT and mackerel by 2% to 40,000 MT. At the same time, average import prices for frozen fish rose by 34.7%. The rise could be attributed to higher average import prices for frozen herring displaying an increase of 36.3% to USD1.09 per kilo and mackerel by 9% to USD2.18 per kilo. Actually, in the period under analysis the RUR to USD exchange rate was strengthening, though not at the same big rate.

Import of fish fillets

In January-June 2011 Russia's import of fish fillets descended by 8.9% to 62,000 MT against the rise of average import prices by 41%. The decline of fish fillet imports was mostly connected with a drop in import shipments of herring fillets by 32% to 22,400 MT.

The rise of average value of fillets was partly due introduction of new requirements into the national sanitary standards as to the allowable content of glazing for seafood products (as of October 2010).

As a result, in the first half of 2011 the average import price for fish fillets from Southeast Asia was on a rise. In particular, import price for Chinese fillets (pollock, tilapia) grew by 28.5%, while Vietnamese fillets were imported at prices 37.3% higher than last year.

Despite the price rise Russia's import of fish fillets from China rose by 37.2% to 18,300 MT and from Vietnam - by 23.9% to 10,100 MT.

In July 2011 Russian fish import value amounted to USD155.6 million, 2% up on June 2011 and 8.7% up on July 2010. The import continued rising thanks to growing shipments of chilled fish. In the meantime, in July 2011 import of frozen fish to Russia went down by 3.1% on the previous month, fillet imports also declining by 14.1%.

In July 2011 the growth of import value could be attributed to a rise of world prices for some finfish species. In volume terms Russia's seafood import continued declining. More specifically, in the first half of July 2011 there was a big rise of export value of Norwegian chilled salmon -from NOK28.54 to NOK33.21 per kilo (+16.4%). Prices for frozen mackerel and fish fillets were on a rise on the world markets.

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