Overview of seafood exports from the Russian Far East in July 2008
In July 2008 the development of salmon exports from the Russian Far East fell into the greatest focus, though the dynamics was mixed with the rates of shipments to main export markets, namely to Japan and China, reported as fairly different, according to the overview prepared by analysts of http://www.fishnet-russia.com/ (https://www.fishnet.ru/) based on Japanese and Russian sources.
In July 2008 the Russian traders boosted shipments of frozen sockeye of the Russian origin onto the Japanese market, which could be attributed to a comparably early start of active run of sockeye to the west coast of Kamchatka. In July more than 3400 tonnes were cleared via the Japanese customs, that was 185% up on June 2008 and 26% up on July 2007. The total volume of the seasonal import in June-July exceeded 4500 metric tons, 25% or 1000 tonnes up on the same period in the previous year. The Japanese importers however forecasted a certain reduction of the total shipments of the Russian sockeye onto the Japanese market (including sockeye harvested with driftnet and fixed seine from the Eastern and Western coasts of Kamchatka).
Prices for the seasonal products also considerably changed, because in June when the shipments were dominated by driftnet sockeye the average price of the Japanese import dropped by 10% on 2007 to less than 650 Yen per kilo, and in July 2008 the prices went further down by 6.5% to less than 570 Yen per kilo.
Shipments of other Pacific salmon species, mostly chum salmon, in July amounted to ca.850 tonnes, with the total volume of the seasonal shipments growing by 40% to 1000 tonnes. However, the price dynamics was also downward as in June the average import prices came down by 10% to less than 400 Yen per kilo and in July 2008 they dropped further by 17% to 300 Yen per kilo.
In the meantime, shipments of the Russian products, less sockeye, into China developed much more slowly as compared to the previous year 2007. In July when importers were expecting large lots of frozen pinks from West Kamchatka where the fishery conditions were fairly favourable, only ca.100 tonnes versus 800 tonnes last year passed through the Chinese customs, and the total volume of the Chinese import through June and July did not reach even 500 tonnes, decreasing more than 60%. And though the volume of shipments sank so dramatically, the average CIF prices kept decreasing to 2.10 USD, nearly 20% down on 2007, in June 2008 and further to 1.70 USD per kilo in July, 15% down on 2007. According to the Japanese specialists, in 2008 the Chinese import of frozen pink salmon coming from Russia may decrease again, because the fishing season in main areas, especially in East Sakhalin, was not generous and Russia's domestic demand attracted the bulk of the seasonal production.
The Chinese import of frozen sockeye of the Russian origin, less shipments via Japan and South Korea, in July 2008 was limited to only one 21-tonne container, nearly 80% down on 2007, but the average import prices rose 100% and reached more or less normal level of a little more than 3.50 USD per kilo.
Alaska pollock roe
In July 2008 the Russian producers continued actively exporting frozen Alaska pollock roe to the Japanese market and speeded up the product's export to China and the South Korea (shipments to the latter country developed more quickly than last year). According to the Japanese specialists, increased activity of importation of the Russian products to the above main markets could be attributed first of all to noticeable stretching of seasonal sales at auctions in Busan (some of the seasonal products were still offered at auctions in July 2008).
The volume of the Japanese import in July decreased as compared to June more than twice, however it still amounted to nearly 2750 tonnes, five times up on the corresponding result last year. The average import price increased by 12% on last year and settled at 1200 Yen per kilo, though the quality of the products put up for auction in June and July was considerably lower than the quality observed in April and May 2008. The volume of the seasonal import to Japan from March to July 2008 amounted to more than 17,700 tonnes, 5500 tonnes or 45% up on last year, with the large rise of the Japanese import of frozen APO roe in 2008 emerging as expected due to a dramatic decrease of Alaska production.
The traders also expected a decrease of shipments to the South Korea and China, but the reduction of the seasonal shipments to the market of the South Korea was limited to 30% and amounted to less than 1900 tonnes. In July 2008 they jumped nearly twice as compared to last year and made about 300 tonnes, while the volume of the seasonal import to China as per late July 2008 did not reach 1500 tonnes, more than 70% down on last year. However, in July 2008 the volume of Russia's export to China grew much brisker, as compared to June 2008 the customs cleared more than triple volumes of ca.700 tonnes as compared to last year, therefore there still remain theoretical possibilities for the recovery of seasonal shipments for processing in China (according to some estimates, another 4500 tonnes of seasonal products of the Russian origin may pass via Japanese, Chinese and South Korean customs before the start of the future season, while the total volume of the seasonal import of the Russian products to those markets was limited to 21,000 tonnes as per the end of July 2008).
As for the prices, the indications for July imports were remarkable for rising prices of shipments to the South Korean market and especially to China. More specifically, in July 2008 the average price of import to the South Korea jumped nearly by 40% to 9.15 USD per kilo, while the average price for China went up nearly by 50% to 14.20 USD per kilo, which was much higher than the average import prices for direct shipments to Japan (some market specialists forecasted that in July 2008 a considerable share of the Russian exports to China would be represented by salmon roe, not Alaska pollock roe).
Shipments of crab products both to Japan and China developed less actively than last year. The Chinese import of frozen crab species (almost exclusively snow crab) of the Russian origin decreased by 20% to less than 900 tonnes as compared to last year (the average import price somewhat decreased to approximately 2.85 USD per kilo). In the meantime, the total volume of the Chinese import from the beginning of the year did not reach 4000 tonnes as per late July 2008, more than twice down on the respective results of last year.
The Japanese import of frozen red king crab (with a slight share of blue king crab, the demand of which on the Japanese market remained limited) dwindled as compared to June by 45% to 400 tonnes only, and by 37% on last year, which came as no surprise for the market observers in view of absent quotas for commercial fishery until the start of the autumn fishing season. The total volume of import since the start of the year amounted to 4200 tonnes, nearly 2000 tonnes down on last year. At the same time, Russia's export of frozen snow crab to Japan went down by 10% on June 2008 to 2600 tonnes, while the total volume of shipments to the country since the start of the year grew by less than 1% to 8400 tonnes.
The average import price of frozen red king crab in July 2008 came up to 1900 Yen per kilo, while the average indications since the beginning of the year amounted to ca.1780 Yen per kilo, jumping by more than 50% as pushed by concerns about future prospects for shipments. As for frozen snow crab, no substantial changes in prices were observed on the market. More specifically, in July 2008 the average import price remained at 1100 Yen per kilo, on a par with the average price in the period since the start of the year 2008 and with the result of 2007.
In July 2008 import of live red king crab to Japan decreased by 25% on June 2008 and by 35% on July 2007 and amounted to less than 600 tonnes. According to the Japanese customs, the total volume of shipments since the start of the year amounted to only 2800 tonnes, just 5% down on last year, though highlighted measures of fighting UUI fisheries should have resulted into more noticeable results. The Japanese import of live snow crab, developing faster than last year, decreased practically by 30% to 3200 tonnes as compared to June 2008. The total import of live snow crab since the start of the year did not reach 15,000 tonnes, 1.5% up on last year. The Japanese import of hairy crab through the period under analysis was limited to less than 1100 tonnes, more than 15% down on last year.
The average price of live red king crab imported from Russia amounted to approximately 660 Yen per kilo both in July 2008 and in January-July 2008, 2.5% down on last year. The average price of imported live snow crab also changed insignificantly decreasing by 5% to ca.400 Yen per kilo. As for shipments of live hairy crab the observers spoke about a more noticeable decrease of 16% to 585 Yen per kilo.
The Japanese import of frozen halibut of the Russian origin in July developed more briskly than last year with the shipments' volume in July 2008 almost doubling on June to 800 tonnes. The total volume of Russia's halibut exports to Japan in the first seven months of the year 2008 reached 3100 tonnes, nearly 25% up on last year. At the same time, the average import prices remained practically on a par with last year and amounted to 640 Yen per kilo. Import of other flatfish species was not active and its shipments through the period were limited to 2000 tonnes, almost twice down on last year, with the average prices decreasing by 17% to less than 300 Yen per kilo.
The Japanese import of frozen cod of the Russian origin in July 2008 was practically suspended (just like the case was with the US products), while the total shipments through the first seven months of the year amounted to 1000 tonnes on a par with last year. The average import prices somewhat decreased to 500 Yen per kilo. The Japanese import of ocean perch Sebastes mentella in July 2008 was limited to 100 tonnes, but the total result since the start of the year reached 2000 tonnes, more than 30% up on last year. The nation's import of Atka mackerel Pleurogrammus monopterygius in June and July developed at the rate of 1000 tonnes per month, and the total import through January-July 2008 reached 15,400 tonnes, 13% up on last year.
Progressing of shipments of frozen Alaska pollock of the Russian origin to China (the shipments partly contained cod and other relative species) in July 2008 did not show any prospects of recovery of Russia's shipments of the raw material to the level of 2005-2006. In July 2008 import of the species amounted to ca.11,400 tonnes, three times down on last year. The total volume of shipments through the period since the start of the year decreased less considerably by 9% to 193,000 tonnes, however the Japanese observers predicted that the situation in July could prove that the Russian producers would continue preferring either own production of APO fillets, or shipments of headed and gutted products onto the national market. The average import prices in July 2008 were fairly high at ca.2.85 USD per kilo, more than 25% up on last year.
The Chinese import of frozen Russian pollock in July 2008 was slow and the volume of shipments through the month was limited to less than 200 tonnes, nearly 60% down on last year. In the meantime, the total volume of shipments since the start of the year amounted to more than 1400 tonnes, 8% up on last year. The average import prices amounted to ca.2.75 USD per kilo, also 8% up on last year.
Import of other flatfish species also dwindled in July 2008 as compared to last year practically by 60% to less than 3000 tonnes, while the total volume of shipments since the start of the year amounted to only 9300 tonnes versus 22,300 tonnes last year, again ca.60% down on last year. However, no considerable increase of average import prices followed with the indications remaining below 1.30 USD per kilo.
As for import of other Russian fish species to Japan, in January-July 2008 shipments of frozen herring from the Russian Far East practically reached 6500 tonnes (including ca.800 tonnes shipped in July 2008), more than 65% up on last year. The average import prices went up by 12% to 130 Yen per kilo.
In July 2008 the Japanese customs cleared 700 tonnes of live sea urchins coming from Russia, the result being on a par with July 2007. Meanwhile, the total volume of shipments since the start of the year decreased by 18% to 7200 tonnes. The average import prices rose by 20% to more than 570 Yen per kilo.
Besides, Russia resumed shipments of APO surimi to Japan. The volume of such shipments in July 2008 was comparably small at less than 20 tonnes, but the fact was remarkable itself, because the shipments restarted after a break for many years. The average import prices appeared to be even higher than the US products and amounted to more than 460 Yen per kilo. The average import prices of Russian pollock surimi to the South Korea were much lower at 3.45 USD per kilo in July 2008, but the volume of such shipments was much higher at more than 200 tonnes. According to the Japanese specialists, at the initial phase of sales of the product made by a facility recently launched in the North Kuriles the Russian producer would focus on the market of the South Korea, especially taking into account that the South Korean side took the most active part in the facility's commissioning.
The Chinese import of frozen squid of the Russian origin in 2008 was developing brisker than in 2007 and July 2008 was no exception with the volume of shipments reaching 500 tonnes, 180% up on last year. The total volume of squid shipments since the start of the year amounted to ca.1400 tonnes, 1000 tonnes up on the same period last year, but in the total volume of the Chinese import of frozen squid the share of the Russian products remained insignificant (the Chinese grand total import of squid from all the sources in the period under analysis amounted to 230,000 tonnes). The average import prices of the Russian squid were also not high at ca.0.50 USD per kilo.