Overview of seafood exports from the Russian Far East in the first eleven months of 2008
In November 2008 the activity of shipments of Russian seafood produced in the nation's Far East Basin to core neighboring markets, consumers and users was comparably not high in general, because sales of such products as roe, pollock, salmon as well as live and fresh crab were slower than in October and brisker export of frozen crab and live sea urchins could not offset the general slowdown of sales, according to the overview prepared by analysts of http://www.fishnet-russia.com/ (https://www.fishnet.ru/) based on Japanese and Russian sources.
According to preliminary estimates, in December the activity of shipments of main product groups displayed even a greater decline, while the situation with shipments in the beginning of the current year 2009 looks completely indefinite due to introduction of the new seafood exportation regime.
In November 2008 the total volume of frozen pollock and cod roe made in Russia and imported to the markets of Japan, South Korea and China amounted to only ca.600 tonnes, 47.5% down on the volume imported in October 2008, but 100 tonnes up on November 2007. Even such a small rise was indicative of a general positive trend for the year 2008 according to which shipments of Russian products to the foreign markets were rising.
The total volume of import of the Russian products to those three countries from January to November 2008 reached 26,500 tonnes, 3000 tonnes up on January-December 2007. Moreover, the seasonal import of pollock roe grew even more by 4500 tonnes to ca.25,300 tonnes. However, if seasonal shipments directly to Japan grew nearly by 8000 tonnes or 72% to ca.19,100 tonnes, imports to the other two markets went down. Import to South Korea dropped by nearly 28.5% to 2500 tonnes, while import to China decreased even further, by nearly 38.5% to only ca.3700 tonnes. Probably, the actual volume of shipments of pollock roe was even smaller, as the Chinese customs statistics includes various fish roes and even some insides into one commodity group.
The situation in November 2008 however was different. More specifically, importation to the South Korea was practically the same in volume as in October 2008 and slightly declined as compared to November 2007. The shipments in the eleventh month of the year 2008 amounted to ca.130 metric tons. Though import to China went down by 56% on October 2008 to ca.280 tonnes, as compared to November 2007 it jumped more than two times. In the meantime, import to Japan halved on October 2008 and went down by 14% on November 2007 to less than 190 tonnes. At the same time, the average price of the Japanese import went down to 900 Yen per kilo, which was already recorded in September 2008 and as compared to November 2007 it was 8% smaller, though through the period from January to November 2008 the average price rose by 18% exceeding 1255 Yen per kilo, therefore respectively low result of November 2008 did not hinder the possibility of good prices for the Russian products of appropriate quality at coming spring auctions in Busan.
Price indices for November import to China and South Korea were not high either. As for shipments to the South Korea the average price formed at 9.60 USD per kilo, nearly 1.00 USD down on October, but in general the average price of the South Korean import rose by more than 1.00 USD up to 8.60 USD per kilo. The average price of the Chinese import through the period jumped even higher by 3.20 USD per kilo to nearly 11.25 USD per kilo, though in November it was not large at all, namely less than 8.10 USD per kilo versus ca.11.00 USD per kilo in November 2007.
Shipments of processed pollock roes to Japan, just like processed salmon roe, of the Russian origin were not recorded again. Import of frozen salmon roe in November 2008 rose nearly to 600 tonnes, while in October it was not active at all. However, as compared to November 2007, it went down by 6% which (along with smaller pink salmon harvest and strong market for sieved roe in Russia) was probably encouraged by increased average import prices growing nearly by 19% to 2800 Yen per kilo. In a current situation of the Japanese market of salmon roe in sacks the stronger prices should limit the use of the Russian raw fish only to production of sieved roe also fetching very high prices. The total volume of the Japanese import since the start of the year also decreased by 6% to ca. 950 tonnes which were cleared at customs at average prices of a little more than 1840 Yen per kilo, 11% down on October 2008.
Shipments of frozen herring roe of the Russian origin to Japan were not recorded again, while import of salted roe of Russian herring (according to some information, mostly of the Chinese origin) amounted to a little more than 150 tonnes, 19% up on October 2008, but almost the same as in November 2007. The total volume of its import from the beginning of the year jumped by almost 53.5%, but the volume was still only 560 tonnes. The average import price in November 2008 was recorded at 1000 Yen per kilo versus less than 930 Yen per kilo in October 2008 and ca.1300 Yen per kilo in November 2007. However in general through the period the prices remained practically unchanged at ca.970Yen per kilo CIF.
Pollock and cod
The Japanese import of frozen cod of the Russian origin in November 2008 increased nearly by 40% as compared to the previous month and amounted to ca.650 tonnes. The total import since the start of the year amounted to 2320 tonnes, thus rising nearly by 55% on the corresponding result of the year 2007. The average import price, however, went down to 400 Yen per kilo versus nearly 490 Yen per kilo in October 2008, and 20% down on November 2007. The total decrease for the first eleven months of the year amounted to 5%, the average price reported at 470 Yen per kilo.
In November 2008 import of frozen Russian pollock to Japan reached 190 tonnes versus only 3 tonnes in October 2008, but 4% down on November 2007. The total volume imported to the country from January to November 2008 amounted to ca.850 tonnes, only several tonnes up on 2007. The average import price amounted to ca.170 Yen per kilo, 7% up on 2007.
Shipments of the Russian products to China (again included mostly pollock, but the share of cod and other cod species displayed a rising trend) in November 2008 were limited to the level of only 9000 tonnes versus nearly 13,000 tonnes in September 2008 and more than 12,000 tonnes in October 2008, therefore the gap on 2007 by the end of 2008 was expected to grow even larger. Main reasons behind smaller activity of shipments of the Russian raw to China included strengthening demand on the Russian market, increased yield of fillets made by the Russian producers and weakening prospects for sales to the markets of Europe and the USA in a situation of quickly progressing world financial crisis. The average import price in November 2008 was again fairly high at ca.2.70 USD, though as compared to October 2008 it declined by 17% or 0.55 USD per kilo. Taking into account September shipments the price range in autumn 2008 amounted to 2.50-3.25 USD per kilo, which was much higher as compared to the standard level of prices for frozen pollock and which confirmed noticeably rising share of cod in the total volume of shipments.
The Japanese import of pollock-based surimi of the Russian origin in November 2008 halved to 24 tonnes, but the total volume imported from the beginning of the year to November 2008 (namely in the second half of the year) amounted to more than 300 tonnes. Import to the South Korea was more active in November 2008 when the traders cleared ca.90 tonnes. The total volume of shipments through the first eleven months of the year amounted to nearly 450 tonnes, therefore the total import reached 550 tonnes already before the end of the year, which was a fairly high index taking into account the multi-year break.
The average price of the Japanese import of the Russian surimi in November 2008 declined by 6% to less than 445 Yen per kilo. However, the average indication through the period from January till November 2008 amounted to 480 Yen per kilo, 20 Yen per kilo up on the average price of Russian surimi exported to the USA. As for the shipments to the South Korea in November 2008 the average price was fairly low at only 2.70 USD per kilo, but the price through the period of the first eleven months amounted to 3.20 USD per kilo, which was actually on a par with the average indications for the US import (ca.3.85 USD per kilo) and 1.50 USD per kilo up on the average indications for the Chinese import.
The Japanese import of frozen halibut (white and black) in November 2008 went down as compared to October 2008 by 47% to only ca.430 tonnes. However, for the period from January 2008 to November 2008 it went up by 1100 tonnes or more than 25% to 5400 tonnes. The average import price rose by 3.5% on October 2008 to 675 Yen per kilo versus less than 640 Yen per kilo in November 2007, and in general for the period it formed at 650 Yen per kilo rising by the same 3.5%.
Import of fresh flounder resumed, but its volume amounted to only 8 tonnes, while in general through the period since the start of the year it amounted to only 90 tonnes, 45% down on October 2008. At the same time, the average import price did not rise, but it went down by 14% to 380 yen per kilo. In November 2008 it was even lower at 300 Yen per kilo. Shipments of frozen flounder to Japan in November 2008 went twice down to 90 tonnes, 73% down on November 2007. And the total volume imported to the country in January-November 2008 amounted to only ca.2600 tonnes, 51% down on the respective result of 2007. That time the average prices also decreased, as a result of which the average import prices through the period amounted to only 290 Yen per kilo, 13% down on 2007. In November 2008 the average price was only at 280 Yen per kilo versus nearly 300 Yen per kilo in October 2008 and more than 300 Yen per kilo in November 2007.
Activity of the Japanese import of frozen ocean perch (mostly Sebastes mentella) in November 2008 declined, its volume went down by 53.5% on October 2008, and in general since the start of the year the Japanese importers purchased only ca.4800 tonnes, 1100 tonnes or 18.5% down on November 2007. In January-November 2008 the average import price rose but only by 4% and did not recover to 400 Yen per kilo. In November 2008 it amounted to 397 Yen per kilo versus 391 Yen per kilo in 2007.
Shipments of Atka mackerel in November 2008 decreased by nearly 1000 tonnes on November 2007 to 720 tonnes (20% down on October 2008). The total import volume since the start of the year amounted to ca.17,500 tonnes, 8% down on the corresponding figure of 2007. The average import price somewhat increased on October 2008 and reached 230 Yen per kilo, more than 60% up on November 2007. The average indications through the first eleven months of the year rose by 23% to 190 Yen per kilo.
In November 2008 the rates of shipments of frozen sockeye of the Russian origin to the market of Japan were very weak and the total volume of seasonal import starting from June was limited to 19,200 tonnes, 3500 tonnes down on the result of 2007. According to several Japanese specialists, smaller shipments might come from a rise of sales on the Russian domestic market, though after the financial crisis which took off in autumn the market outlook did not appear as promising as earlier. The import volume in November amounted to only ca.650 tonnes, 83% down on the import volume in October 2008 and more than 80% down on November 2007. The average import price went down below 500 Yen per kilo just like in November 2007, but it was connected mostly with the exchange rate of Yen versus the USD rate.
Import of frozen coho salmon of the Russian origin in November 2008 was limited to only 20 tonnes, and the total volume of its shipments since the start of the year amounted to less than 580 tonnes, 20% down on the corresponding figure of 2007. The average import price in November 2008 amounted to ca.350 Yen per kilo, 17% up on a little less than 300 Yen per kilo in October 2008. However, in general the average import price from January 2008 to November 2008 amounted to ca.320 Yen per kilo (for the Chilean shipments which were represented by cultured products it settled at 360 Yen per kilo), actually on a par with the result of 2007.
Shipments of frozen chum salmon also slowed down dramatically. The volume of imported Russian chums amounted to less than 150 tonnes versus 450 tonnes in October 2008. However, as compared to 2007 when the traders cleared only 1 tonne of chum salmon at customs, the rise was fairly large, just like the case with coho salmon. The total import volume since the start of the year amounted to ca.3200 tonnes, 23% up on 2007. The average import price in November 2008 amounted to ca.285 Yen per kilo versus 265 Yen per kilo in October 2008. The price indications in January-November 2008 averaged at 295 Yen per kilo, 55 Yen per kilo down on 2007.
The rate of Japanese import of the Russian herring remained much higher on 2007. More specifically, in November 2008 traders cleared more than 90 tonnes at customs, twice up on October 2008 and nearly four times up on November 2007. The total import from January 2008 exceeded 7650 tonnes with a rise of 73%. The average import price in November 2008 settled at 140 Yen per kilo versus 155 Yen per kilo in October 2008. The average price in the first eleven months of the year 2008 amounted to ca.135 Yen per kilo, nearly 15% up on 2007.
The Japanese import of frozen crab of the Russian origin displayed a large boost on October, which was observed also in shipments to China, and it could be explained mostly by seasonal factors. Importation to China improved as compared to October by nearly 80%. However, as compared to November 2007 it practically did not increase and was limited to 900 tonnes. The total import since the start of the year amounted to at least 6550 tonnes, 52% down on 2007, therefore market experts said that the period of high level of the Russian shipments of frozen crab which took off in 2006 evidently finished last year and in the current year volumes of shipments are expected to return to the level of 2004-2005 which stayed at 3000-5000 tonnes. The average import prices displayed no impact of declined shipments remaining very low and amounting to only 2.75 USD through the first eleven months of the year 2008.
The volume of shipments of frozen crab to Japan amounted to ca.2450 tonnes, 47% up on October 2008. As compared to November 2008 it remained practically unchanged. In general, since the start of the year the traders imported ca.20,400 tonnes of Russian products, approximately 10% down on 2007. At the same time, import of frozen red king crab went down by 18% to 8230 tonnes from January 2008, while import of snow crab decreased by 4% to 12,000 tonnes. The volume of shipments of hairy crab and other crab species rose more than twice, but amounted to only 70 tonnes.
In November 2008 import of king crab amounted to ca.1400 tonnes, nearly 20% up on October 2008, but 17.5% down on November 2007. The average import price reached already 1910 Yen per kilo versus 1500 Yen per kilo in November 2007, while in general through the first eleven months of the year it grew by 40% to 1820 Yen per kilo.
November shipments of frozen snow crab rose nearly twice and reached 1000 tonnes, 40% up on the result of November 2007. The average import price in November 2008 decreased by about 10% to ca.1070 Yen per kilo. In the meantime, the average indication in January-November 2008 increased by 1.5% to 1126 Yen per kilo.
Importation of live crab of the Russian origin to Japan in November 2008 reached 2200 tonnes, but it declined by 42% on October 2008. As compared to November 2007 it went down even greater, namely by 56.5% or nearly 2000 tonnes, with the shipments of red king crab and snow crab (mostly opilio) both displaying decreases. Import of red king crab (including shipments of blue king crab) decreased as compared to October 2008 by 23% to only 540 tonnes, nearly 30% down November 2007. In the meantime, shipments of live snow crab amounted to ca.148 tonnes, sinking by 48% on October 2008 and 54% on November 2007.
The total importation of live red king crab from the beginning of the year 2008 decreased by 18.5% (according to official figures) to less than 5300 tonnes, while shipments of live snow crab came down by 8% to 22,300 tonnes. The total volume of shipments (including hairy crab, the shipments of which declined by less than 1000 tonnes to ca.2300 tonnes, and some other crab species) amounted to ca.30,000 tonnes, more than 3000 tonnes down. That did not bring to a considerable rise of import prices which either slightly increased like in the case with shipments of red king crab (from 706 Yen per kilo to 730 Yen per kilo), or decreased like in the case with shipments of snow crab and hairy crab (from 400 Yen per kilo to less than 390 Yen per kilo and from 720 Yen per kilo to 615 Yen per kilo correspondingly).
Shipments of frozen shrimp to Japan (mostly deepwater pink shrimp Pandalus borealis in raw frozen form and partly coonstripe shrimp Pandalus hypsinotis) in November 2008 somewhat increased, but their volume rose by 4% to 500 tonnes, still 45% down or 400 tonnes down on November 2007. In general importation of Russian shrimp to Japan since the start of the year declined nearly by 800 tonnes or 10% failing to reach 7000 tonnes.
The decline of shipments was observed against the background of much higher prices, which caused lower demand from the commercial and other users and smaller activity of the end consumers. Reports said that before the start of the new season the Japanese importers began making efforts towards decrease of purchasing prices by means of using factors of the world crisis, strong exchange rate of Yen and smaller demand on the alternative markets. In November 2008 the average import price went down as compared to October 2008 by 160 Yen per kilo and decreased to 1450 Yen per kilo, but rising by 17% or more than 2.00 USD per kilo on November 2007. The average indications from the beginning of the year settled at 1240 Yen per kilo, 15.5% up on the corresponding figure of 2007, while the average import price of North Atlantic products did not rise remaining at 1000 Yen per kilo, while in general the average price of the Japanese import of frozen shrimp declined nearly by 7% to less than 930 Yen per kilo.
In November 2008 shipments of live sea urchins of the Russian origin to Japan displayed a dramatic boost and the volume of shipments rose by more than 25% on October 2008 to 1300 tonnes. However, despite that the total volume of officially registered import since the start of the year amounted to only ca.10,200 tonnes, 2100 tonnes or 17% down year on year. In November 2008 the average import price in a situation of active shipments and strong exchange rate of Yen decreased to less than 465 Yen per kilo, 11% down on October 2008 and 16% down on November 2007. In general, the average price indications since the beginning of the year through to November amounted to 565 Yen with a rise of 13.5% on the respective result of 2007.