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Global Fish Markets Still Affected by Difficult Economic Climate

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ANALYSIS - Global fish markets are still impacted by the difficult economic climates in the worlds major economies, according to the FAO Globefish Highlights Quarterly Update August 2013.

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Production wise, the Asian shrimp sector has been struggling this year due to Early Mortality Syndrome. This year’s shrimp production is unlikely to exceed 300,000 tonnes compared with 500,000 tonnes produced last year. However, EMS has helped shrimp prices to rise.

Strugglling economies in some of the major markets alongside the implementation of countervailing duties has led to a decline in shrimp imports.

In the tuna market, the frozen skipjack tuna price remains strong at $2,300-2,400/tonne or delivery to Bangkok. During early June, there was brief a softening in the price to $2,150/tonne. Marketers indicate that prices have bottomed out and could possibly increase again in a short time. There will be some improvement for canned tuna this year but raw material supplies will be low.

Cod prices are at a 30-year low as supplies flood markets, particularly in Europe. At the same time, Norwegian exporters are turning to fresh cod products in an effort to capture new markets.

During 2013 supplies for tilapia will increase from major producers, other than China, such as Egypt, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Brazil. Domestic markets will increasingly be the focus of producing countries with appreciation of currencies against the US dollar and euro.

Mixed trends in pangasius production and trade will keep the market firm. With a forecast of lower production in 2013, Viet Nam is struggling to address the many problems facing the industry. Despite a low production overall, production in Indonesia is increasing rapidly.

The EU imported more catfish during the first quarter of 2013 while imports to the US experienced a decline.

In the Norwegian salmon sector, prices are expected to remain high with good export numbers driven by high demand. The Chilean sector however has not faired as well due to weaker prices and unfavourable trade conditions in Japan.

Record high fish meal prices are expected throughout the year due to a strong demand from the
aquaculture sector. Fish oil prices are also expected to stay high due to lower catches in South America.

The Peruvian North/Central summer quota has been set almost 700,000 tonnes lower than last year at 2.05 million tonnes, while fishing in Chile has been poor so far this year.

Restricted supply and sustained worldwide demand for feed kept prices up around the $2,300 level in the first quarter.