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GLOBEFISH - Análisis e información comercial en pesquerias

Herring - August 2011


Demand for herring is good on the European market at present, but supplies are somewhat tight. As a consequence, herring prices are high.

Norway as a major exporter registered record exports in terms of value during the first half of the year, but the volume of exports actually dropped by as much as 29%, from over 260 000 tonnes in 2010 to just 184 000 tonnes in 2011.

All major markets for Norway registered a decline in imports of Norwegian herring, but prices were up considerably. On average, the fob export price of Norwegian frozen herring went up by almost 54%, from NOK 4.16 per kg to NOK 6.40 per kg.
Russia is the largest market for Norwegian frozen herring and during the first half of 2011 the country imported frozen herring worth NOK 521 million. However, in terms of volume, imports from Norway dropped by 44%. Also the second largest importer of Norwegian frozen herring, Nigeria, registered a drop in volume, but a hefty increase in value during the first half. The volume declined by over 30%, while the value increased by 22.5%.
The main reasons for the price increase are probably a combination of very good demand and reduced fishing quotas.

Looking at individual import markets during the first quarter of 2011, it can be seen that developments have been mixed. Germany registered a decline in imports, while France registered an increase.  However, Norwegian export statistics, which cover the first six months of the year, indicate that Germany may actually have increased its imports of frozen herring. During the first six months of 2011, Germany imported 25 840 tonnes of frozen herring from Norway, compared with 16 089 tonnes during the first half of 2010.

French herring imports during the first quarter of 2011 showed an increase of over 50%. This growth in imports is expected to have increased during the second quarter of the year. Based on Norwegian export figures, imports from Norway alone grew by almost 64%, from 2 223 tonnes in 2010 to 3 642 tonnes in 2011. French import prices have also increased dramatically, by about 60%.

On the Japanese market it looked as if 2011 was going to be a bleak year for herring sales. During the first quarter, only 4 100 tonnes of fresh and frozen herring were imported. However, the second quarter brought a turnaround. Norwegian exports of frozen herring alone reached 9 693 tonnes during the first half of the year. This was only a slight increase (+4.8%) compared with the first half of 2011, but prices were up by 22.8%.

It is obvious now that China is importing frozen herring for processing and re-exporting. During the first six months of 2011, China imported 6 546 tonnes of Norwegian frozen herring, compared with just 282 tonnes in the same period in 2010. However, Norwegian export prices to China dropped by 30% and were among the lowest export prices registered for Norwegian herring during the period.

The outlook for the herring market is more of the same: tight supplies and high prices, coupled with good demand.

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