SeaFood Business

JUN 2014

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Market Report 18 SeaFood Business June 2014 Visit us online at www.seafoodbusiness.com Shrimp report (Continued from page 16) What direction the market takes will show itself soon as holiday buying positions will be taken before long. Buy- ers are showing more interest in product from India, which may sig- nal a bottoming out on vannamei prices. Eu- rope is mostly buying value-added product, and action is heating up in China, with more than 100 full container loads booked the frst week of May. Te U.S. market has started to place a few orders to test the waters. In Indonesia, there has been heavy buying since early May, as im- porters started placing orders. — SFB Staff Greece stays upbeat on bass, bream Despite horrifc results, farms are optimistic be bad news" for the industry as last year's output — forecast at around 342,000 MT — was too much for the market to absorb. A strategic drop in production would bring supply more in line with demand. Another posi- tive sign is growing in- terest from markets like Russia, the Middle East and the United States, which can pay higher prices than Europe. In May Greek bass and bream prices stood between €5 ($6.88) and €6 ($8.26) per kilo- gram (kg), with Turk- ish products a few cents cheaper. On average, Mediterranean bass and bream costs between €4 ($5.50) and €4.50 ($6.19) per kg to pro- duce. — Jason Holland industry's failings on the country's "creaking" banking system and stronger competition from other producing countries. Neighboring Turkey is providing the stifest competition for Greece and last year took over its position as the world's No. 1 bass and bream producer with output well above 100,000 metric tons (MT), while Greece's production for 2013 slipped to less than 95,000 MT. Traders reckon the total supply of bass and bream might drop this year, which "wouldn't G reece's farmed sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and sea bream (Sparus aurata) produc- ers remain confdent there won't be a repeat of the 2007 industry collapse anytime soon despite a disastrous 2013 for the country's biggest players. Aristides Belles, chairman and manag- ing director of Nireus, said "2013 was the worst year in the history" of the group. It certainly wasn't alone in its mis- ery, with rival producer Selonda confrming its losses grew from €11 million ($15.1 million) in 2012 to more than €66 million ($90.8 mil- lion) last year. Belles said his com- pany's poor perfor- mance was largely due to an "unprecedented lack of liquidity, as well as the continuing cli- mate of uncertainty," which brought prices to very low levels, while raw material and feed prices soared. In May, Greek trad- ers were blaming the bass/bream Lobster season off to slow start Prices to remain high until Canadian processors start buying T he North Atlan- tic lobster season kicked of in May, but there wasn't much ac- tivity to speak of at the start. A heavy ice pack and cold water have re- stricted fshing, slowing landings. "We have al- ready seen a softening in pricing on North Atlan- tic tails but this is more a refection of processors cleaning up inventory in anticipation of new- season landings," says a top buyer for a major North American sea- food company. Te record-low prices seen last year for North Atlantic lobster tails led to many major promotions by some of the largest national restaurant chains. Prices started rising once the 2013 season ended in December, which the buyer says will lead to a major reduction in lobster promotions in 2014, both in foodser- vice and retail. "Te challenge to these foodservice and retail operators is they have created some sig- nifcant sales history they will be fghting in 2014 versus 2013," the buyer says. "Tis will make them all very motivated to fnd ways to continue to promote North Atlantic lobster tails. Nothing draws customers like lobster, so there is room for the increases. We forecast operators will skinny up their margins to help ofset the market in- creases in order to pro- mote them." Te buyer thinks North Atlantic tails are at their high point and will continue to ease throughout the rest of the year. "Pressure will be on the value tails [5 to 6 ounces] and small- er, with larger tails be- ing weaker," he says. An executive at a Maine lobster com- pany says prices were hovering around $2.60 to $2.75 a pound at the start of the season, about 50 cents to 75 cents higher than they were one year ago at this time. All product at this point is going to the live market, he says, adding that prices will continue to trend lower until pro- cessors in Canada de- cide to open up. "Right now it's too expensive for the pro- cessors to make any money." Also, Chains that might have run a Mother's Day lobster special chose not to this year. Tose that did charged higher prices and have seen one-third the demand they did last year. His outlook is similar to the buyer's: "I don't think prices will come down until the processors in Canada open up." — SFB Staff Pelagics report (Continued from page 16) lobster MT, 24.5 percent less than last year, the price diference is stark. One of the key prod- ucts that Chile pro- duces fshmeal, prices of which continually increase. In May, fsh- meal or fsh four was set at $1,625 per MT, 10.2 percent more than levels seen in Decem- ber. A catch increase would clearly help the fshmeal industry. "Te Chilean fsh- ing industry, espe- cially in the northern regions, will have a very good year if we continue to get these catch numbers and the market keeps work- ing in our favor," says one industry insider. — Brewington & Co. 16_18MarketReport.indd 18 5/20/14 11:17 AM

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