Russian pollock roe auctions in Busan entering the final stage

June 15, 2021 14:50

The season of roe auctions in Busan is almost over, reports

All in all, there has been 28.3 thousand tons produced in 2021, and by the time of the publication 24.9 thousand tons has been sold in Busan.  At the same time, part of the roes sold was produced in 2020, some of 2021 roe was sold to the domestic market, and some was negotiated without open auctions. It can be expected that the Busan series of auctions will end by the end of June, and less than a thousand tons is left for sale. Providing, of course, the product will be unloaded in Busan in time, as currently seven transports with roe cargo are slowly discharged in Busan, and four more are in the queue for birthing until the third decade of June. Unprecedented schedule and discharge rate, by the way.

A new element of the June auctions was a large volume of overmature roes (417 tons), which Russian vessels traditionally did not produce, leaving this product segment to their American counterparts. This year, the leader in these product grades was Russian Fishery Company (RFC), which accounted for more than half of the mizuko and metsuke grades, and in general the share of overmature roe in the company sales YTD was the highest (4.8% vs 0.3-1.8% for the other Russian producers). Most of the companies produced no more than two varieties of overmature eggs (whole and torn roe), while the RFC tried to make as many as five grades of mizuko plus two metsuke, i.e. more than some American companies. This really surprised Japanese buyers, as this year, the RFC grading quality was not very high even for mature / immature grades, which is well known to Russians, and the RFC sailors naturally did not cope with the new product. The actual absence of differences between the five varieties may have been the reason that the prices for RRPK immature roes turned out to be more than two times lower than those of the other companies. Nevertheless, bidders positively note that Russians have become more responsible for their catch, taking not only relatively expensive grades, but also very low-grade both overmature and small immature product, utilizing the catch as fully as possible.

In total, about 10 thousand tons of pollock roe was sold in Busan in the second half of May and the beginning of June, a significant part of which was produced in April-May in the Eastern Sakhalin sub-zone. It was more difficult than at the beginning of the season.  The market, anticipating a significant decline in annual volume, learned the exact production numbers. Together, Russia and the United States produced 44,927 tons, which, of course, is significantly less than 56,767 last year, but on the whole corresponds to the annual consumption level in Japan and Korea and is hardly little enough for any noticeable increase in average prices. Almost all buyers have met their purchasing plan. The decline in consumer demand caused a natural decline in prices for “standard” grades eggs of comparable quality. At the same time, “non-standard” grades roe price even slightly increased in comparison with the beginning of the season.  However, this might have happenned due to incorrect labeling and sorting by a number of companies, primarily RFC and Sigma Marine Technologies, where price of roes, labelled as immature and small, was often close to the prices other companies received for roes marked as high-grade products.

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