Trends of seafood importation to Ukraine in January-March 2007

June 21, 2007 12:38

The volume of the Ukrainian fish market in the recent years has stabilized at 600,000 tonnes per year of which imported contributed 70-75%. The total volume of imported fish includes 90% of frozen sea fish with Norway remaining the Ukraine's main supplier of the product group.

In the first three months of the current year 2007 the structure of the Ukrainian import of frozen fish (in value terms) consisted of the following main fish species:

  • herring- 41%;
  • mackerel - 24%;
  • sardine - 7%;
  • saithe - 5%;
  • blue whiting and hake - 4%;
  • Atlantic salmon - 2%;
  • other species - 17%.

As per June 2007 market analysts say that there are no grounds to think that the above mentioned figures will considerably change in the remaining months of the year.

Main trends of trade relations with several producer countries are given as below.

Baltic States

During a number of years the Ukraine has been purchasing more than one fifth of Estonian seafood, mostly canned sprats, Baltic herring and sprat. The longterm contracts were made when there were no customs duties for products imported to the Ukraine. However, after in 2004 the country revised conditions for foreign trade, canned fish importers have had to pay a 20% customs duty.

Viru Kalatoostuse OU is Estonia's largest producer of fish products and its share on the domestic market amounts to 48%, while 20% is exported to Hungary, Chechia, Slovakia and Germany and 32% of the company's total production volume is shipped to the Ukraine. With introduction of the customs duties the firm's trade operations with the Ukrainian importers were suspended and resumed only in the second half of 2006. As per mid-June 2007 market analytics saw no indications of recovery of seafood importation from Estonia.

No information is however available concerning Ukrainian purchases of Latvian and Lithuanian fish.

Norway

In the first quarter 2007 ca.90% of seafood supplies from Norway were contributed by frozen fish. At the same time, as compared to the same period 2005, the share of herring supplies dropped by 15% and mackerel by up to 20% in the total volume of supplies against a corresponding increase of supplies of cheaper fish (capelin, etc.).

Fillets

In the sector of imported frozen fish fillets the largest contributions were recorded for herring fillets (ca 30%), hake (22%), Alaska pollock (ca.10%) and salmons (7-8%). The Ukrainian importers purchased small lots of ocean perch fillets, halibut, cod, mackerel, tuna, skates, etc.

USA

In the recent years seafood import to the Ukraine from the USA has considerably grown as it can be viewed in the tables as below:

Table 1: Ukraine's frozen fish import from the USA by species

Product code

Description

Q1 2005, million USD

Q1 2007, million USD

Q1 2005 versus Q2 2007 in %%

030379

Other 0303

0.27

0.96

355.6

030371

Pilchards

0.31

0.67

216.1

030378

Blue whiting and hake

0.00

0.63

-

030310

Pacific salmon

0.05

0.45

900.0

030374

Mackerel

0.22

0.19

86.4

030380

Liver, roe

0.03

0.07

233.3

030350

Herring

0.07

0.02

28.6

030376

Eel

0.00

0.02

-

0303

Frozen fish less fillets, TOTAL

0.96

3.01

313.5

Source: Ukrainian State Customs Committee

Table 2: Ukraine's frozen fish import from the USA by commodity groups

Product code

Description

Q1 2005, million USD

Q1 2007, million USD

Q1 2005 versus Q2 2007 in %%

0303

Frozen fish

0.96

3.01

214.52

0304

Fillets and other fish products

0.25

0.37

50.75

0307

Other seafood

0.08

0.09

12.28

0305

Processed fish (dry-cured, salted, etc.)

0.05

0.06

14.62

0306

Shellfish

0.04

0.06

33.61

03

TOTAL

1.38

3.59

159.68

Source: Ukrainian State Customs Committee

Offering more expensive and higher quality fish the US exporters have benefited much from recent changes on the Ukrainian market. The US position is especially strong in the sector of the Pacific salmon. Due to a halt of Russian supplies of Pacific salmon, the Ukrainian importers had to switch to Norwegian farmed salmon unaffordable for most of consumers due to relatively high prices. Therefore the US pink salmon and chum salmon have emerged as a competitive alternative for the Norwegian products due to their high quality and more affordable prices. Besides, the US products also look attractive which is especially important in the upper end segment of the market dominated by salmon and sturgeon.

The US suppliers also expect high margins in export of other high quality seafood products to the Ukraine where there is a lack of supply from Norway and Russia. Apart of the mass-market segment the US exporters have been actively promoting hake and sardine products on the Ukrainian market. In particular, in the recent months the Ukrainian importers have been boosting purchases of pilchards from California. The situation on the Ukrainian roe and liver market has also been fairly good, while the outlook for the mackerel and herring market looks vague.

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