Trends of Russian fish exports to China
All-Russian Association of Fisheries Enterprises, Entrepreneurs and Exporters (VARPE) has completed the analysis of export supplies of Russian fish products in key markets in the first quarter of 2023.
According to China's customs statistics, about 274.5 thousand metric tons of Russian fish products worth $676.7 million were imported into the country. As compared to 2022, the imports increased by 32.9% in volume and 28.4% in value.
At the same time, exports to the Republic of Korea, which became a transit hub for Russian fish products during the Chinese lockdown, are shrinking: in volume terms, it decreased by 22.1%, to 111.6 thousand tons, in value – by 13%, to $312.6 million.
"The decline in exports to the Republic of Korea is due to a reduction in the supply of frozen fish, primarily pollock. At the same time, the growth of supplies of this product category ensured the growth of exports to China. Moreover, the gap in both cases is almost proportional. This suggests that we are returning to the pre—pandemic logistics of exports to Asian countries and the products that previously went to China through Korea are now going directly," said German Zverev, President of the WARPE.
According to him, another trend has also strengthened — the reduction in the cost of certain categories of Russian fish products in the main sales markets, primarily Chinese.
Thus, with an increase in the supply of frozen fish by 34.2% (up to 261.4 thousand metric tons), their cost increased by only 29.3% ($417.3 million). The situation with fillets and other fish meat, including minced meat, is more complicated: with an increase in supplies by 11.5% (up to 3 thousand tons), their cost decreased by 15.7% (up to $ 7 million). The situation is similar in the crustacean sector: with an almost twofold increase in exports (up to 8.6 thousand tons), its value increased by only 39%, to $243 million.
"In the first quarter, shipments are, as a rule, under contracts of the past year. At the same time, it is obvious that the "historically successful" export categories still, as in 2022, demonstrate negative dynamics of financial efficiency in the Chinese market," German Zverev believes.
In his opinion, it is necessary to respond to the changing market conditions by offering non-standard solutions to distributors and processors in China, and actively seek alternative markets to reduce the risk of "buyer's dictate" from Chinese buyers and, as a result, deterioration of the negotiating positions of Russian suppliers.