Overview of seafood exports from the Russian Far East to May 2009

July 20, 2009 12:41

In May 2009 the market players remained focused mostly on shipments of frozen pollock roe, according to the overview prepared by analysts of http://www.fishnet-russia.com/ (https://www.fishnet.ru/) based on Japanese and Russian sources.

Their activity in general considerably increased as compared to April 2009 thanks to rising sales at auctions in Busan in the end of April 2009 and in May 2009, however the shipments were still noticeably slower than last year and the shipments to China remained extremely slow. Along with the above, there was a strong decrease of import of frozen flounder to Japan and China against the background of at least a 50% rise of catches on the grounds of the Russian Far East. The shipments of crabs in May 2009 were slower than last year, though the import volumes still exceeded the volumes of officially approved harvest, which was also the case with shipments of sea urchins.

Salmon

In May 2009 the rates of the Japanese import of frozen sockeye of the Russian origin dramatically decreased which could be attributed first of all to the fact that by the beginning of the new fishing season both producers and importers had practically no coldstore inventories of the products from the last season. The import volume amounted to only 17 tonnes versus nearly 360 tonnes in April 2009 and almost four times down on last year. The average import price was high throughout May 2009, close to 800 Yen per kilo or namely 791 Yen per kilo versus less than 515 Yen per kilo in April 2009 and less than 620 Yen per kilo in May 2008.

The total volume of Russian exports of salmon 2008 to Japan through the first five months of the year 2009 amounted to ca.1630 tonnes, 36% down on the corresponding results of last year, and even despite the very high prices in May 2009 the average import price CIF for the period amounted to only 455 Yen per kilo, ca.30 Yen per kilo down on last year. However, taking into account considerable strengthening of the Yen to USD exchange rate the average import price in USD was at least not smaller than last year and amounted to ca.4.65 USD per kilo.

In May 2009 the Japanese customs did not clear any shipments of Russian coho, Chinook, and other frozen salmons, just like in April 2009. The total volumes of shipments for the period since the beginning of the year remained very poor with 5 tonnes of coho and less than 10 tonnes of chum salmon and other species cleared by the Japanese. Shipments of Russian salmon from the new harvest in January-May 2009 were not observed either.

According to some estimates, in June 2009 the volumes of import shipments of the Russian salmon to Japan were not very large due to the delay with the start of shipments from the new season, especially drift net products, though the season of the inshore fixed seine fishery in East Kamchatka was opened approximately one week earlier than last year.

Pollock roe

In May 2009 the Russian shipments of frozen pollock to main destinations (Japan, South Korea and China) were brisker than in April 2009. However, the shipments to China remained very slow, thus giving rise to doubts about the outlook for production of processed pollock roe in China for the markets of Japan and South Korea, at least in the current season.

As compared to April 2009 in May 2009 the Japanese import of the Russian products increased by more than 80% to ca.4630 tonnes, but as compared to May 2009 it went down by more than 30%. The total volume of shipments of the Russian raw fish from the start of the year was limited to 8500 tonnes, 14% down on last year. The average price of the Japanese import in May 2009 decreased by more than 100 Yen per kilo as compared to April 2009 to only 915 Yen per kilo, 33% or nearly 450 Yen per kilo down on last year in keeping with the actual price trends at auctions in Busan.

The South Korean import of the Russian products in May 2009 also got boosted. According to the Japanese market players, the boost could be attributed mostly to inactivity of the Japanese buyers at auctions in Busan and emergence of fairly large purchasing capacities of the South Korean competitors who had no trace of them in the season 2008 when the volume of the SK shipments did not reach 3500 tonnes. In May 2009 the South Korean traders imported more than 1200 tonnes of Russian pollock roe, twice up on April 2009 and nearly thrice up on May 2008. The total import volume for the period from the beginning of the year reached 2400 tonnes, rising by more than 40% mostly thanks to brisker trade in May 2009. The average import price CIF for the South Korea in May 209 amounted to 7.50 USD per kilo, 13% or ca.1.10 USD per kilo down on April 2009 (as for the shipments to Japan it decreased by 10%) and 23% down on the result of May 2008. In other words, the average price for the South Korean imports practically returned to the level normal for the recent years.

In May 2009 the Chinese import of the Russian pollock roe as raw material for further processing did not increase, unlike the other two destinations, but decreased to only 70 tonnes versus more than 100 tonnes in April 2009. As compared to last year it nearly doubled, however the results remained not large and the total volume of shipments in January-May 2009 amounted to only 333 tonnes, 60% down on last year when the result was also 65% down on the figure of 2007. The average CIF price of the Chinese import in May 209 was very low at only 2.80 USD per kilo versus more than 4.70 USD per kilo in April 2009. Last year in May the prices were also extremely low at only 3.00 USD per kilo.

The total import volume for these three countries in May 2009 got close to 6000 tonnes (5900 tonnes namely), 83% up on April 2009 and 17.5% down on May 2008.

Herring roe

Russian shipments of frozen herring roe to Japan in May 2009 and in January-May 2009 were not registered at all. Import of salted herring roe in May 2009 jumped nine times on April 2009 to less than 20 tonnes. In January-May 2009 the traders imported only ca.22 tonnes of salted herring roe, approximately on a par with last year. The average import price in May 2009 amounted to ca.915 Yen per kilo versus 880 Yen per kilo in April 2009, and nearly 200% up on last year. In January-May 2009 the average import price amounted to ca.870 Yen per kilo versus 450 Yen per kilo last year.

Salmon caviar

No development of Russian shipments of processed salmon caviar to Japan was observed in the first five months of the year 2009 and some market players attributed that fact to the incompliance of the Russian quality standards with the requirements of the Japanese market. Import of frozen raw material was finished in March 2009 and in April-May 2009 no more shipments of the products were observed. The import volume for the period from the beginning of the year amounted to ca.740 tonnes, nearly 170% up on last year. The average import price leveled at 1670 Yen per kilo or more than 17.50 USD per kilo with the exchange rate of Yen to USD being strong. However, according to some information, the sides hold talks on products from the new season and the prices discussed were much lower at 10.50-11.00 USD per kilo, which could be probably explained by worsening prospects for the Russian market of salted sieved caviar.

Herring

The Japanese import of frozen Russian herring in May 2009 was limited to only 150 tonnes, 55% down on April 2009 and 84% or more than 6 times down on May 2008. In the meantime, the herring harvest in the Russian Far East decreased only by 6% to 50,000 tonnes. The total import volume in January-May 2009 amounted to ca.3200 tonnes, 44% down on the same period of last year. The average import price in May 2009 amounted to only 80 Yen per kilo versus 96 Yen per kilo in April 2009 and ca.125 Yen per kilo in May 2008. In January-May 2009 it amounted to only 90 Yen per kilo, 26% down on 122 Yen per kilo in the first five months of 2008.

The Japanese import of frozen herring fillets of the Russian origin (mostly processed in China) in May 2009 went down by 34% on April 2009 to ca.320 tonnes, ca.70% down on more than 1000 tonnes last year. The total import for the period from the beginning of the year decreased by 14%, but remained fairly high at 2500 tonnes. The average import price in May 2009 descended by more than 10% on April 2009 and amounted to ca.380 Yen per kilo, but in May 2009 it was practically the same (ca.370 Yen per kilo namely). The average price for the first five months of the year 2009 amounted to 415 Yen per kilo, nearly 7% up on the corresponding result of 2008.

Cod species

The Japanese import of frozen cod of the Russian origin in May 2009 remained not very active with the shipments totaling only 52 tonnes, actually on a par with April 2009. However in May 2008 the import was developing even more inactively with the shipments totaling only 15 tonnes. In January-May 2009 the Japanese import was limited to only 420 tonnes, practically 40% down on the same period 2008. The average import price in May 2009 decreased to 240 Yen per kilo versus 256 Yen per kilo in April 2009, which could be attributed to rising exchange rate of Yen to USD. As compared to last year it went exactly twice down due to a dramatic worsening of the price situation for the world producers of frozen cod. The average import price for the period from the beginning of the year amounted to only 255 Yen per kilo, 46% down on last year.

The Japanese import of frozen Russian pollock was not registered either in April 2009 or in May 2009. The total shipments through the first five months of the year decreased nearly by 60% to a little more than 200 tonnes, but the average import price remained practically unchanged at ca.160 Yen per kilo.

Progressing of the Chinese import of frozen Russian cod products mostly contributed by headed and gutted pollock was still very slow with the result of last year being not very high either. The volume of the official import in May 2009 amounted to only ca.3800 tonnes versus 6300 tonnes in April 2009 and 5300 tonnes in March 2008, and as compared to last year it went down by 86%. The total import volume from the beginning of the year amounted to only 25,000 tonnes, while last year by the start of June the traders imported more than 170,000 tonnes of frozen Russian products, the decrease therefore also exceeding 85%. The average import price in May 2009 went up to 2.00 USD per kilo versus less than 1.95 USD per kilo in April 2009, but it did not reach the March figure which amounted to 2.05 USD per kilo. As compared to last year the result in May 2009 grew approximately by 0.20 USD per kilo or 11% and the average result for the first five months of the year amounted to 2.02 USD per kilo or nearly 0.40 USD per kilo up on last year.

Bottomfish

The Japanese import of frozen ocean perch in May 2009 got somewhat brisker as compared to April 2009, however the traders imported only 120 tonnes, nearly four times down on May 2008. The total import volume in January-May 2009 amounted to only ca.750 tonnes, 58% down on the same period last year. The average import price in May 2009 went up by 6% on April 2009 to 440 Yen per kilo, practically 100 Yen per kilo up on the last year result. The average price for the period from the start of the year amounted to ca.385 Yen per kilo, 10% up on the corresponding result of last year.

The Russian shipments of Atka mackerel in May 2009 dramatically decreased to only 1320 tonnes, 45% down on April and 35% down on May 2008. By the end of May 2009 the traders imported only 9500 tonnes, almost 30% down on last year. The average import price in May 2009 went down to below 220 Yen per kilo versus more than 230 Yen per kilo in April 2009, but it was 13.5% down on the average price in May 2008. The average indications for the first five months of the year increased nearly by 15% to ca.210 Yen per kilo.

The Japanese import of fresh flounder of the Russian origin in May 2009 doubled on April 2009, but it was still limited to only 6 tonnes (though in May 2008 the shipments were even smaller than 6 tonnes). In January-May 2009 the traders altogether imported only 15 tonnes of flounder versus 20 tonnes last year. The average import price as compared to April 2009 was practically unchanged at ca.265 Yen per kilo on a par with the average figure for the period from the start of the year.

Import of frozen products in May 2009 sank almost ten times on April 2009 and amounted to only ca.45 tonnes, while last year in May the traders imported nearly 480 tonnes. All in all, from January to May 2009 the traders imported ca.820 tonnes of Russian products, 43% down on last year. The average import price in May was limited to less than 190 Yen per kilo versus ca.205 Yen per kilo in April 2009, and as compared to last year it went down by one third or nearly by 100 Yen per kilo. The average indications for the period leveled at 230 Yen per kilo versus 290 Yen per kilo in 2008. Import of halibut of the Russian origin (less arrowtooth flounder) in May 2009 went down by 72% on April 2009 and did not reach even 100 tonnes, more than 80% down on last year. The average import price in May 2009 grew approximately by 100 Yen per kilo on April 2009 and reached 660 Yen per kilo, however the average price indications for the period since the beginning of the year remained within 590 Yen per kilo, 7% down on the corresponding result of last year.

The Chinese import of frozen white halibut of the Russian origin was not observed in May 2009, and the shipments were limited to 280 tonnes of black halibut, while in May 2008 the traders imported ca.45 tonnes of white halibut against zero shipments of black halibut. The total import volume for January-May 2009 amounted to a little more than 1000 tonnes of halibut of the Russian origin (also less arrowtooth flounder), 3% down on last year with the share of white halibut shrinking from 35% to less than 18%. The average import price for black halibut in May 2009 was at the level of 2.10 USD per kilo, and through the period under analysis it amounted to 1.80 USD per kilo, 40% down on last year, while the average import price of white halibut dropped by 64% to ca.1.05 USD per kilo.

The Chinese import of frozen flounder of the Russian origin was limited to only 100 tonnes, nearly 6 times down on last year and in January-May 2009 the import volume went down by 78% to only 820 tonnes. The average import price in May 2009 amounted to ca.1.00 USD per kilo versus nearly 1.40 USD per kilo last year, and in the first five months of the year the prices were limited to 1.20 USD per kilo, nearly 0.30 USD or 20% per kilo down on last year.

Crabs

The Japanese import of live and fresh king crab of the Russian origin in May 2009 grew by more than 50% on April 2009 to ca.600 tonnes and in general for the first five months of the year the import volume amounted to less than 2200 tonnes thus displaying a rise of more than 55% on last year. The average import price in May 2009 decreased below 400 Yen per kilo down from nearly 470 Yen per kilo in April 2009 and 35% down on last year. As for the first five months of the year, the average price indications declined by more than 100 Yen per kilo to 550 Yen per kilo. Import of live snow crab in May 2009 grew by 30% on April 2009 to ca.2900 tonnes, nearly completely meeting the last year result (shipments of king crab went down by 26%). In January-May 2009 the import volume grew by 3% to ca.7400 tonnes with the average import price through the period decreasing by 17% or approximately by 70 Yen per kilo to less than 340 Yen per kilo. The average import price in May 2009 was limited to 300 Yen per kilo versus almost 400 Yen per kilo last year. The Japanese import of live hairy crab of the Russian origin in May jumped by 52% on April 2009 to 100 tonnes, still 60% down on last year. In the first five months of the year the traders imported from Russia 350 tonnes of live hairy crab, 23% down on last year. The average import price as compared to last year remained practically unchanged both in May (535 Yen per kilo) and in January-May 2009 (ca.710 Yen per kilo).

The Japanese import of frozen king crab of the Russian origin in May 2009 decreased by 40% on April 2009 to less than 200 tonnes, and through the period under analysis the import volume went down by 13% to less than 2700 tonnes. The average import price in May 2009 dramatically decreased to 1350 Yen per kilo, 14% down on April 2009 and 30% down on last year. The average indications for the period from the beginning of the year declined by 18% to ca.1420 Yen per kilo. Import of frozen snow crab in May 2009 grew on April 2009 by 50% and went close to 900 tonnes, but, just like the case with king crab (red and blue), as compared to last year, it considerably decreased by 42% (by 70% for king crab). In January-May 2009 the import volume amounted to ca.2250 tonnes, 22% down on last year, the average import price went down by more than 20% to 880 Yen per kilo (in May 2009 it amounted to ca.860 Yen per kilo versus less than 840 Yen per kilo in April 2009). Shipments of other frozen crab species of the Russian origin to Japan were not observed in May 2009.

The US import of frozen Russian crab amounted to ca.900 tonnes of king crab and ca.150 tonnes of frozen snow crab, correspondingly 39% and 17% down on last year. In the first five months of the year import of Russian king crab (dominated by the products from the Barents Sea fisheries ) decreased by 8% to less than 6300 tonnes and by 5% to less than 1300 tonnes of snow crab. The average import price (FAS) of king crab in May 2009 leveled at 17.30 USD per kilo versus less than 16.65 USD per kilo in May 2008. The average indications for the first five months of the year went up by 1.20 USD per kilo to ca.17.45 USD per kilo. The average prices of frozen snow crab in May 2009 amounted to a little more than 5.85 USD per kilo, 0.50 USD per kilo up on last year. The average import price for the period since the beginning of the year amounted to ca.5.65 USD per kilo, approximately 0.40 USD per kilo up on last year.

The Chinese import of frozen crab of the Russian origin in May 2009 went down by 32% on May 2008 to less than 400 tonnes, but the total import volume since the start of the year grew by 9% on last year to ca.2600 tonnes. The average import price for the first five months of the year increased nearly by 1.00 USD per kilo to 3.80 USD per kilo. However, in May 2009 it amounted to only 3.05 USD per kilo, 1.00 USD per kilo up on May 2008.

According to the estimates of the market players, under the official import data through the first five months the total volume of shipments of crab products originating from the Russian Far East to main markets, including South Korea, corresponded to the actual harvest of 34,000 tonnes, which double exceeded the total volume of Russia's official catch records for the first half of 2009.

Shrimp

The Japanese import of frozen shrimp of the Russian origin in May 2009 got much brisker as compared to April 2009 and the import volume jumped by 50% on April 2009 to nearly 1000 tonnes, more than 40% down on May 2008. The total volume of shipments through the first five months of the year declined practically by 20% to less than 3900 tonnes. The average import price in May 2009 somewhat increased on April 2009 and amounted to ca.1125 Yen per kilo down from 1230 Yen per kilo in May 2008. However in general for the period it went up as compared to last year.

Squid

Imports of frozen Russian squid to China in May 2009 were not registered, while last year the traders imported nearly 700 tonnes. The total import through the period from the beginning of the year amounted to only 760 tonnes, 9% down on last year. The average import price however amounted to 0.70 USD per kilo, 52% up on last year.

Sea urchins

In May 2009 the Japanese import of live sea urchin amounted to less than 1140 tonnes, 8% down on April 2009 and 10% down on May 2008. And in the first five months of the year the total officially registered volume of import amounted to ca.4870 tonnes, more than 8% or 440 tonnes down on last year. The average import price in May 2009 decrease by 10% on April 2009, but remained practically unchanged on last year. However, the average indications for January-May 2009 decreased by 13% to ca.520 Yen per kilo mostly due to the influence of the Yen to USD exchange rate.

Surimi

In May 2009 the Japanese import of Russian pollock surimi amounted to 25 tonnes and the total shipments since the beginning of the year amounted to ca.120 tonnes by the end of May 2009, while in the first half of 2009 there were no such shipments at all. The average import price again made ca.440 Yen per kilo, but the average result for January-May 2009 was somewhat higher at ca.460 Yen per kilo.

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