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Fish Pool's Ceselia Høyvik Rokne says that for over a month, contracts for next year have been traded at NOK 62.50 / kg. Only 2016 has had an average spot price that exceeds this level. Photo: Therese Soltveit.
Fish Pool's Ceselia Høyvik Rokne says that for over a month, contracts for next year have been traded at NOK 62.50 / kg. Only 2016 has had an average spot price that exceeds this level. Photo: Therese Soltveit.

The last few weeks have seen contracts for salmon traded at significantly higher prices than in the same period last year, according to Bergen-based Fish Pool ASA, the salmon contracts marketplace owned by the Oslo stock exchange.

According to the company, the market has great faith in rising salmon prices in the future.

Fish Farming Expert’s Norwegian sister site, Kyst.no, recently reported that in week 35 (August 30-September 5) Norway exported 33,778 tonnes of salmon, which is the largest export volume ever in a week and 30% more than the same week last year.

The Fish Pool Index for week 35 was also up 12% in Norwegian kroner and 15% in euros compared to week 35 last year. The fact that there is a price increase in a market with such a large increase in volume may indicate a relatively strong market.

Higher biomass

Fish Pool head of sales Ceselia Høyvik Rokne told Kyst.no that Norway had a spring and summer with very good temperatures for growth, which meant that the total biomass in the sea has been 7-8% more than last year in recent months.

“The fish that are in the sea have a higher average weight, probably due to increased use of post-smolt. The average weight of reported spot sales to the Nasdaq Salmon Index is up approximately 4% compared to last year so far this year. Last year, extra MTBs (biomass allowances) were also awarded at auction, so some farmers have probably had a little more space in the sea to grow biomass through the summer,” Rokne pointed out.

She adds that, as always in late summer and autumn, there are probably some who are also harvesting a little extra now to catch up with the lice situation or other biological challenges. The current period is a typical “low price” period, and Rokne reckons that no more fish will be harvested than necessary.

Restaurant recovery

She said that there had been a clear increase in volume for the supermarket segment when the Horeca (hotels, restaurants and cafes) segment fell away due to restrictions and closures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Now many restrictions have been removed or partially removed in several markets, and it appears that demand in the Horeca segment has begun to return. Norway is still very dependent on the EU as its main market, but there are several overseas markets that have returned strongly this year. Nevertheless, there is some uncertainty associated with access to shipping options and the price of shipping to overseas markets.”

Significantly higher

The Fish Pool market, which mainly consists of business players, believes salmon prices will rise.

“October was on Friday sold with us at 56.00 NOK / kg, i.e., approximately 11 kroner higher than what the October spot price ended last year,” said Rokne. “Although there is reason to suspect that processing industry countries such as Poland and Denmark are building stocks towards Christmas, the market still seems to expect prices to rise further. In 2020, the spot December was 45.16 NOK / kg. The farmer can now secure this year’s Christmas sale of NOK 67.00 / kg.”

The market appears to believe that 2022 will be free of Covid-19 influence, and Roknes says that contracts are now being traded for next year at NOK 62.50 / kg.

“That’s NOK 7 more than in 2020 and NOK 4 above the value for the current year. In fact, only 2016 has previously had a higher spot price with an average of NOK 63.13 / kg.”