Moscow's freshfrozen fish market undergoing important developments

January 23, 2009 15:51

By the third week of January 2009 trade in freshfrozen seafood in Moscow has completely recovered, analysts of ( concluded after analyzing the current situation on the market.

One of the important events of the week was signature of memoranda about simpler conditions for seafood shipments to Russia as signed by Rosselkhoznadzor (Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance) and a number of EU countries, though the Russian vet office has reserved to do onsite inspection of the exporter fish plants and vessels, under the new routine it is up to the exporting country's authorities to submit the lists of exporters complying with the Russian vet regulations.

Note: The memorandum stipulates finfish and other aquatic products meant for exportation to Russia should originate from fishing and processing companies and coldstores approved by Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Rosselkhoznadzor. These businesses shall be enlisted by Rosselkhoznadzor as approved subject to guarantees of their compliance with the Russian veterinary and hygiene standards as provided by the competent body of the supplying country. The businesses are regarded included into the list if Rosselkhoznadzor has got no claims to the applicant within 30 days after getting the renewed list. The approved lists shall come into force within two weeks, during which the Russian vets will accordingly notify its veterinary offices working at border checkpoints. Since the memorandum has been signed seafood importation to Russia will be carried out only from enlisted companies without intermediary storage at the premises of other companies and breaking into several lots after a final certification of the whole consignment. The competent body in the supplying country guarantees the products' compliance with the Russian standards.

More specifically, the memos were signed for shipments from the UK, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, France and Sweden. Besides, the Russian vets also signed a memorandum with the Agency for Food and Veterinary of the Faroe Islands. In Berlin the Russian vets and Norway's State Service for Food Surveillance signed a memorandum about cooperation in the sphere of control of imported and exported food safety and aquaculture. The Russian vets also visited Argentina to check national seafood producers willing to export their products to Russia. They checked 2 vessels and 22 processing companies.

Rise and rush

As for the events inside the country, reports came from the fish ports about successful clearance of vessels under the new regulations which came into force on 1 January 2009. Under these rules the entire catch made in the Russian EEZ shall be subject to customs clearance in Russian ports, the procedure not to exceed 3 hours.

The third week of January 2008 could be called a week of large price rises. The traders reported increased prices practically for the whole product range. The largest rises were observed for pink salmon, pollock and mackerel. The prices also grew for pangasius fillets, tilapia, Atlantic salmon, trout, squid and sprat. Actually there were just a few products remaining more or less stable.

According to a spokesman of one large company based in the Russian Far East, special rush was observed on the Russian pink salmon market. Traders were easily able to dispose even of low quality pink salmon which no one wanted to buy before the New Year. Prices were rising every day. Wholesalers were searching for pink salmon inventories at regional coldstores, because in Moscow the stocks were sold out. One trader said that in the coming week the demand should switch to chum salmon as a substitute of pink salmon.

Reports came from Vladivostok about a strong demand for headed and gutted pollock, which was actively sold on 100% prepayment terms.

Regional traders also reported that due to high prices for Atlantic herring the processors were increasingly thinking about substituting it by Pacific herring.

In order to reduce their expenses many processors in the European part of Russia who previously worked on the Atlantic raw fish, decided to adapt their technologies for the Pacific fish. Thus, if prices for the Atlantic herring grow further, the demand for cheaper Pacific herring will rise and the geography of its sales will expand.

As for imported products, there was a general increase of prices along with continuing strengthening of USD exchange rate to ruble.

Against the background of rising demand for tilapia fillets traders kept reporting rising price. Coldstore inventories of pangasius catfish were declining and the outlook for new shipments looked vague. As per the third week of January 2009, seafood importation from Vietnam remained prohibited. Due to such situation importers and wholesalers considerably increased their offer prices for pangasius fillets. Against the background of a general rise of prices more or less stable situation with prices was observed for salmon and trout caviar, HGT hake, blue whiting.

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