Russian herring market displaying growth and structural changes

April 30, 2009 15:39

In the first quarter of 2009 shipments of frozen w/r herring to the Russian market have considerably grown while the shares of imported and domestic products have also changed, reports ( with reference to one of the nation's largest seafood traders ZAO Gulfstream (closed jsc).

More specifically, the market grew by 25.7% in volume as compared to the same period last year. The bulk of shipments was contributed by Russian herring which showed an 45.6% growth on 2008.

According to the company's analysts, in the first quarter of 2009 the structure of herring shipments to the Russian market has displayed a number of changes in favour of Russian herring. More specifically, in the first quarter of 2008 the ratio was 54% to 46% in favour of Russian herring, in 2009 imported herring yielded 9% to the Russian herring (62.5% versus 37.5%). The positive development has become a result of a higher rate of growth of Russian herring catches. In January-March 2009 the shipments totaled 95,079.2 tonnes, 29,791.4 tonnes up on the same period of 2008 (+45.6%), while the volume of shipments of imported herring grew only by 1281.9 tonnes (+2.3%).

Gulfstream's head of purchasing department thinks that the situation with this highly popular fish naturally results from a number of factors. The first one is strengthening of the USD exchange rate which has resulted into a rise of prices for imported seafood. Therefore, the imported seafood has grown less competitive in terms of prices and the purchasing preferences have shifted towards cheaper Russian fish. Besides, a certain pressure has been created by buyers from Africa who have been actively purchasing small size herring 200-300 harvested in autumn last year (such herring dominates in the Russian harvest) and who have thus encouraged the rise of catches of the species. Besides, the situation has been influenced by the start of implementation of the Federal Target Program on fishery industry development which has stimulated more active operations of the domestic fishermen.

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