By: Paul B. Brown Jr.*
When looking at the same time last year, total imports were 2.2 percent higher. Fresh Atlantic whole fish imports were up 5.46 percent and fresh fillets were up 17.3 percent YTD.
Currently the farmed salmon complex is highly unsettled. The market varies widely from origin to origin. The Canadian wholefish market is weak, the Chilean fillet market was weak at the beginning of the month and is now firming, and the European wholefish market has been extremely firm. Overall demand has been quiet as we approach the seasonal summer slowdown.
Fresh Atlantic Wholefish
YTD wholefish imports continued into April with increases; up 5.5 percent. Canada and to a smaller extent Faroe Island are the drivers with 4.8 and 37.8 percent increases respectively. Norway continues to see decreases to start the year; down 33.3 percent. The month-to-month data reveals a 8.5 percent decrease when comparing April 2016 to March 2016. April 2016 is also 7.7 percent lower than April 2015.
April imports into the Northeast continued to see a jump compared to 2015. Currently the market in the Northeast about steady to weak. Downward pricing pressure is being felt due to ample supplies of larger wholefish, ample supply of West Coast wholefish in the Northeast market, and to some extent the return of Chilean fillets to the market after the strike in Chile. Supplies of Northeast fish, as mentioned previously, are fully adequate for larger fish and adequate for smaller sized fish. Demand has been fair to quiet. Imports into the Northeast are the highest levels seen since 2012; note the bar graph. All sizes listed for Northeast wholefish are trending at their three-year averages.
Imports of European wholefish during April were lower than last year at the same time. The European wholefish market has been very firm since the beginning of June. Currently supplies are light for a moderate to fair demand. Sellers report resistence at the higher prices. 2016 imports of European wholefish into the U.S. are slightly lower than 2015. All origins of 6-7s are trending a good amount higher than the 3-year average.
2016 imports from Canada on the West Coast (WC) are slightly under 2015 imports. Currently the market in the West is barely stady to weak; supplies are ample to fully adequate for a dull demand. Supplies of smaller wholefish, in particular, are ample. On the other hand, 14-up fish have been stable. All sizes listed are trending at or below their three-year averages.
Fresh Atlantic Fillets
April 2016 imports of fresh fillets continued the year stronger than 2015 at 107.5 million pounds, the highest YTD volume on record. Month-to-month data shows a decrease when compared to March 2016 of 4.9 percent. When comparing to the same time last year, April 2016 is 12.6 percent higher than April 2015.
Chile is the driver of these increases and 78.4 million pounds have been imported thus far for the year which is up 8.8 percent YTD. Norway continues to see double digit increases YTD; up 63.1 percent with 14.8 million pounds imported so far for 2016.
Fillet imports from Chile and Europe total 107.5 million pounds, the highest total seen in the past four years. A toxic algae bloom in Chile did affect month-to-month imports; imports were down over 4.9 percent for April 2016. Currently the fresh fillet market is very volatile. A steep decline was seen at the beginning of the month after Chilean fillets had returned to the market following a 2 week strike in Chile where no fish was available for the spot market. As supplies improved, the market adjusted lower and after a steep decline, supplies as of the middle of June have become more adequate for the current moderate to fair demand. All sizes for Chilean fillets are trending slightly above their three year averages.
Frozen Atlantic Fillets
Imports of frozen fillets are down 2.2 percent YTD. Additionally, when compared to March 2016 levels, imports are down 29.7 percent. Shipments from Chile are up 11.3 percent YTD and imports from Norway are down 23.5 percent. YTD. Currently the market is full steady to firming. Due to the toxic algae situation in Chile, and the strike in Chile, the fresh market had increased sharply, declined sharply and has rebounded some. Regardless, less volume is being slated for the frozen market and upward pricing pressure is reported.
Frozen non-Atlantic Fillets
Imports of frozen fillet (non-Atlantic) decreased 6.5 percent YTD. Also, when looking at month-to-month data, there is a slight decrease of 0.1 percent. Shipments from China, the main supplier of this commodity —chum— decreased by 5.5 percent YTD and totaling 25.5 million pounds.
Retail data for the month of June shows the average price for Atlantic salmon fillets adjusted higher when comparing to June of 2015. 2015’s average was $7.65 where 2016’s average was $8.37, which is $0.72 higher. When comparing June 2016 to May 2016, there was a slight $0.01 increase from an average of $8.36 to an average of $8.37. The chart shows the % change in pricing of the wholesale market vs. retail ad pricing since 2012. The graph shows a clear correlation between these two.
Wild Salmon (Early June)
The wild fresh salmon season has just gotten underway. We are seeing troll and net kings currently along with initial offerings of sockeyes.
*President of Urner Barry