Norwegian exports down after 18 months growth

Norwegian seafood analyst Paul T. Aandahl

NORWEGIAN seafood exports fell last month for the first time in 18 months, reflecting the damaging impact Covid-19 is having on the industry. However, figures from the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) today show that the salmon sector is showing a lot of resilience in finding new markets as traditional outlets shrink.

Overall seafood exports including whitefish, pelagics and shellfish totalled 183,000 tonnes in April and were worth 8.2 billion kroner (£642 million), a decline of NOK 666-million (£52 million) or eight per cent in value. This is the first decline since September 2018. Tom-Jørgen Gangsø, Director of Market Insight and Market Access at the Seafood Council, said:

\’This can be explained by the decline of the restaurant segment and increased air freight costs for fresh products to overseas markets.\’

Salmon exports last month were down by just three per cent in volume to 83,100 tonnes and were worth NOK 5.4 billion (£423 million), a reduction in value of 13 per cent. Seafood Council analyst Paul T. Aandahl explained that the flow of goods to individual markets was changing, with Spain, one of the countries hardest hit by coronavirus, surprisingly showing up well:

\’Some markets have, to a greater extent than others, been able to compensate for reduced restaurant consumption with increased consumption at home\’

\’In countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea, consumption of Norwegian salmon is increasing, while it is declining in tourism-dependent markets such as Thailand and Singapore.

\’In Europe, the supply of salmon is increasing in markets that largely process Norwegian salmon, such as Poland and Lithuania. Exports also increase to consumer markets such as Spain and Germany, while falling in Italy and France. This happens a lot because of (the different) local measures that make normal sales of fresh fish challenging.

\’Reduced freedom of movement has prevented consumers from shopping as normal, thus shifting sales of fresh salmon towards products with longer shelf life. The result is that we will not be compensated for the losses in the restaurant sector.\’

However, overseas sales of farmed trout increased by 13 per cent in volume to 4,200 tonnes, but were down by 13 per cent in value to NOK 234 million (£18m).

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