Overview of seafood exports from the Russian Far East in August 2008
August normally features peaking sales of Russian salmon to the markets of Japan and China, but in August 2008 the dynamics of Russian salmon exports to the above major recipient countries was evidently more slowly as compared to the same period in 2007, according to the overview prepared by analysts of http://www.fishnet-russia.com/ (https://www.fishnet.ru/) based on Japanese and Russian sources.
The sales of crabs were also not so brisk as in the previous year 2007 and even import of walleye pollock roe did not unroll in the usual lively fashion, though in the previous several months the Japanese import considerably exceeded the results of the last season both in volume and in value. As a result, in August 2008 the total volume of Russian export to Japan amounted to less than 15,500 tonnes, nearly 27% down on 2007, and the total value of the Japanese import amounted to 9.75 billion Yen, 24% down on 2007, though the average import price grew more than 3% to 632 Yen per kilo.
In August 2008 the Russian traders kept boosting shipments of frozen sockeye of the Russian origin onto the Japanese market, but the dynamics remained less brisk as compared to 2007. Through the month under analysis Japan imported more than 5700 tonnes or 70% up on July 2008 and 29% down on August 2007. The total import through July and August with dominating supplies of fixed seine products from the West Kamchatka was barely in keeping with the result of August 2007 only and amounted to a mere 8100 tonnes, 25% or 2700 tonnes down on 2007.
The average import price in August 2008 amounted to 520 Yen per kilo CIF, 9% down on July 2008 and 2% down on August 2007. However, taking into account the strengthening Yen exchange rate the average price in USD was obviously 8-10% up on 2007.
The average price of Russian frozen coho salmon exported to Japan in August 2008 amounted to 330 Yen per kilo only, 120 Yen per kilo or 27% down on July 2008 and 4% up on August 2007. The import volume more than doubled, though it still remained small at merely 120 tonnes.
The average price of the Japanese import of frozen chum salmon of the Russian origin decreased by 6% on July 2008 to 284 Yen per kilo, 14% down on ca.330 Yen per kilo in August 2007. In the meantime, the import volume grew by 3% on last year and amounted to 830 tonnes on a par with July 2008.
The supplies of the Russian salmons (sockeye, chum salmon and pink salmon) to China developed more slowly than in 2007 when the indices were not high. The supplies of chum salmon and pink salmon, which in July 2008 amounted to ca.100 tonnes only, grew to nearly 2800 tonnes in August 2008, still falling by more than 30% on last year. The average import price dropped by 9% to only 1.60 USD per kilo presumably due to changed structure of shipments. Any supplies of frozen sockeye of the Russian origin to China were not recorded in August 2008, while in 2007 the imports made nearly 800 tonnes.
In August 2008 importation of frozen pollock roe of the Russian origin to Japan turned dramatically slow and the volume of supplies went down by 18% on last year to only 420 tonnes, 85% down on July 2008. The development could be interpreted as closure of active seasonal shipments with the total import volume reaching 18,000 tonnes, nearly 75% up on the corresponding result of 2007.
The average import price, just like in the current season, turned out to be higher than in 2007. In August 2008 it amounted to 1240 Yen per kilo, 4% up on July 2008 and 19% (more than 200 Yen per kilo) up on August last year. Since the start of the year it grew by 18% (190 Yen per kilo namely) to ca.1270 Yen per kilo.
In August 2008 the general activity of the South Korean import of frozen Russian pollock roe remained unexpectedly relatively high for the current year level. The import volume in August, just like in July 2008, went up on the corresponding result of last year. More specifically, it exceeded 200 tonnes, though 15% down on July 2008, but 35% up on August 2007. The total volume of Russian products imported into the South Korea since the start of the year was nevertheless limited to 2500 tonnes, or 23% (more than 750 tonnes) worse than in 2007, however the analysts say there are still some possibilities to compensate for a lag on last year until the end of the season of shipments.
The average import price of the Russian product in August 2008 jumped by more than 20% or nearly by 2 USD per kilo on July 2008 and amounted to 11.08 USD per kilo CIF, more than 40% (3.30 USD per kilo) up on August 2007. The above CIF price was record high for the last two and half years (namely from February 2006 when it amounted to ca.11.30 Yen per kilo).
The high level of prices for the Russian products was a characteristic feature of the current season thanks to a considerable decrease of the share of the low quality raw material in the total volume of the seasonal supply at auctions in Busan. However, such level of prices did not fit normal conditions of use of frozen pollock roe on the South Korean market. Therefore, some specialists thought that due to big problems with the use of Chinese processing capacities some Japanese users had to switch to the South Korean processing capacities, which told on the total level of the quality of the Russian products imported to the country in August 2008 and the average import prices as well.
As for Russia's shipments to China, there was a dramatic fall of activity. As a result, the Chinese import decreased to only 23 tonnes, thus accounting for only ca.4% of the July result. The total volume of the Chinese import of the Russian products in January-August 2008 amounted to only 1750 tonnes, 72% down on the corresponding figure of last year. The average import price in August 2008 amounted to 3.30 USD per kilo CIF, but in June and in July, when the seasonal shipments were peaking, the average prices were much higher at 10.45 USD and more than 14.25 USD correspondingly, thus exceeding the last year results nearly by 2.00 USD and 5.00 USD. The average import price of the Chinese import of the Russian products through the first eight months of the current year amounted to 10.55 USD per kilo, 28.5% or 2.30 USD up on August 2007.
The total volume of Russian export of live and fresh crab to Japan in August 2008 amounted to ca.2300 tonnes, practically 40% on August 2007, though in the previous months the shipments did not tend to decrease greatly. As compared to July 2008, the export volume went down nearly by 45% or 18,000 tonnes, only due to dramatically slowing shipments of snow crab opilio which amounted to only 1300 tonnes in August 2008 versus 3200 tonnes in July 2008. As compared to last year, the August export of live opilio crab decreased by 40% or 900 tonnes. In the meantime, the Japanese import of live and fresh red king crab remained practically on a par with July 2008 and amounted to ca.560 tonnes, only 4% down on July 2008, but as compared to August 2007 the result of August current appeared to be 54% lower. At the same time, the Japanese import of live and fresh hairy crab grew by 27% on July 2008 and 19% on August 2007 to 400 tonnes.
The average price of red king crab imported to Japan amounted to ca.610 Yen per kilo, 8% down on July 2008, but 12% up on August 2007. As for shipments of live snow crab opilio, the average import price amounted to ca.375 Yen per kilo, 4% down on July 2008 and 7% down on August 2007. The average price of live hairy crab reached 540 Yen per kilo, 12% up on July 2008, but 9% down on August 2007.
Import of frozen Russian crab to Japan in August 2008 was limited to only 16,500 tonnes also due to slowing import of snow crab opilio. As compared to August 2007, import went down by more than 30% and as compared to July 2008 import decreased by 47%. In the meantime, import of frozen king crab (mostly red and partly blue) rose by 8% on July 3008 to ca.450 tonnes, thus jumping by 220% on August 2007. Import of frozen snow crab opilio was limited to 1200 tonnes, 54% down on July 2008 and 45% down on August 2007. Shipments of hairy crab and other frozen crabs of the Russian origin were not recorded in August 2008.
The average price of Russian frozen red king and blue king crabs imported into Japan amounted to 1835 Yen per kilo, 4% down on July 2008. But as compared to last year, the price grew by 20% or 300 Yen per kilo. The average price of frozen snow crab opilio in August also increased and amounted to 1160 Yen per kilo, 5% up on last year and July 2008.
Import of Russian frozen products to China dramatically decreased to only 700 tonnes, or 53% down on last year. The total volume of shipments since the start of the year amounted to only 4600 tonnes, 52% down. Such a dramatic decrease of import could be attributed to worsening situation on the Russian grounds of red and blue king crabs (for comparison, mostly thanks to brisk fishery last year, the Russian export of the above crabs to China reached 9500 tonnes already by the end of summer). The average price of the Chinese import in August was at ca.2.60 USD per kilo, 13% down on last year (evidently due to changed structure of shipments).
Progressing of the Japanese import of frozen halibut of the Russian origin in August 2008 got drastically slow and its volume was limited to only 500 tonnes, 40% down on July 2008, but 27% up (100 tonnes) on August 2007. The average import prices grew by 6% on August 2007 and amounted to ca.675 Yen per kilo.
Import of Russian frozen cod to Japan increased as compared to last year nearly four times, but it was limited to only 150 tonnes, though shipments of frozen Alaska pollock were not recorded in the period under analysis. The average import price remained in keeping with July 2008 and amounted to ca.580 Yen per kilo, exceeding the last year result nearly by 20% or 100 Yen per kilo.
Shipments of fresh flounder of the Russian origin were limited to only several tonnes, and the average import price dropped to only 100 Yen per kilo. Import of frozen flounder dramatically decreased to less than 130 tonnes, 55% down on July 2008 and 58% down on August 2007. In the meantime, the average import price remained practically on a par with the last year indications at ca.310 Yen per kilo.
The Japanese import of frozen ocean perch of the Russian origin sank to mere 100 tonnes, which was seven times lower than last year. At the same time, the average import price grew by 10% to ca.440 Yen per kilo.
The Chinese import of frozen Alaska pollock and cod of the Russian origin was also developing not very actively. Its volume in August 2008 amounted to only 11,600 tonnes, 33% down on August 2007. The total volume of shipments since the start of the year did not reach 205,000 tonnes by the beginning of September 2008, as compared to ca.230,000 tonnes imported in the same period last year. Therefore imports decreased by more than 10%, which however did not result into increasing average prices. More specifically, the average prices were reported at ca.2.50 USD per kilo, 14% down on August 2007. The average price since the start of the year amounted to 1.80 USD only, nearly 7% down on the corresponding figure last year.
In August 2008 the Japanese import of live urchins of the Russian origin amounted to ca.350 tonnes, 51% down on July 2008 and 35% down on August 2007. With the shipments drastically decreasing in volume, the average import price rose by 35% on July 2008 and exceeded 725 Yen per kilo, which was approximately 25% up on last year.
Import of frozen Russian roe (presumably mostly salmon roe) to Japan in August 2008 was limited only to a little more than 30 tonnes versus 17 tonnes last year, and the average prices amounted to only ca.730 Yen per kilo, 30% up on July 2008 and 20% up on last year. The Japanese specialists think that the price indications were very low against the background of large purchases of frozen pink salmon roe for the Russian market and very high price expectations and high offer prices of the Russian producers.
The Japanese import of salted herring roe of the Russian origin amounted to ca.40 tonnes both in August and July 2008, while last year in August no shipments of the product were recorded and the total volume imported since the start of the last year through to August amounted to less than 60 tonnes. For comparison, in January-August 2008 the Japanese traders purchased nearly 100 tonnes of Russian herring roe. The average prices in July and August were recorded at 900 Yen per kilo approaching 1000 Yen per kilo in August, while last year the prices were well below 500 Yen per kilo.