Russian pollock prices on Moscow market kept in check by good supply of cod

April 24, 2009 12:40

The dedicated pollock fishery in the subareas of the Sea of Okhotsk has been conducted from 1 January 2009 to 19 April 2009 as opposed to the regular closure on 10 April 2009, analysts of ( concluded after analyzing the current situation on the market.

The total harvest of pollock amounted to 620,530 tonnes, 44,606 tonnes up on the corresponding result of 2008. The pollock quota remainder in the Sea of Okhotsk amounts to 188,801 tonnes, which will be covered during the B season.

A spokesman of a large fish company based in the Russian Far East told that despite prolongation of the pollock fishery by 10 days and the fishermen's promise to increase supplies of fish products, including pollock, by 10,000 tonnes to the domestic market, this will hardly make any downward impact on the prices. Though pollock prices in Moscow have weakened, the decline has been minimal at only RUB1.00-2.00 per kilo and is not forecasted to persist. Besides, Chinese importers of pollock have become more active offering 1560 USD per tonne CAF Chinese port. Under such conditions the Russian producers are generating a higher profit from export operations and a further decrease of domestic pollock prices is not expected. On the other hand, the situation has been aggravated by weak fishery of other whitefish species (e.g. longfin codling Laemonema and flounder) in the seas of the Russian Far East, which gives grounds to assert that pollock will substitute for the shortage of these species and the trend will help maintain strong demand for the species.

Besides, according to the reports from the grounds, the total output of products made from pollock by all companies during the Okhotsk fishery amounts to 404,000 tonnes. Shipments to the domestic market amount to 60,000 tonnes, while export sales are as great as 300,000 tonnes. Meanwhile, the fishermen report that a further 44,000 tonnes of products are onboard fishing and processing vessels and are now in transit to ports.

The above reports show that 60,000 tonnes of pollock are not enough for the domestic market, taking into account the market volume of ca.350,000 tonnes, while inshore production of pollock will provide the market with another ca.50,000 tonnes during the whole year. Meanwhile, both in Murmansk and in the Russian Far East cod catches have been fairly good, due to which fact as well as due to unfavourable situation on the export cod market the wholesale cod prices have decreased to RUB70.00 per kilo. The development is indicative of a possibility that cod can also help maintain pollock price at a stable level.

As per the fourth week of April 2009 Moscow's market has been showing a negative price trend with several signs of stabilization.

For instance, headed and gutted pollock has been marketed ex-coldstore in Moscow at the following prices: from RUB58.00-59.00 per kilo of the size 25+, from RUB60.00-61.00 per kilo of the size 30+ and from RUB61.00-62.00 per kilo of the size 35+.

Many suppliers have been offering skinned Chinese pollock fillets IQF from RUB74.00-77.00 per kilo of the count 6-8 and from RUB77.00-83.00 per kilo of the count 8+ ex-coldstore in Moscow. The prices have remained stable.

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