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Norway sets new October seafood export value record

Norwegian salmon exports increased by 14% year-on-year in October as a result of larger harvests and a weak krone. Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council.
Norwegian salmon exports increased by 14% year-on-year in October as a result of larger harvests and a weak krone. Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council.

The value of Norway’s seafood exports reached a record high for October, helped by a weak krone and higher salmon harvesting.

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The country exported 291,000 tonnes of seafood for NOK 10.9 billion (£923m) in October, according to a report by the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Compared to October last year, this means that volume increased by 8% and the value increased by 9%, or NOK 854m.

“So far this year, Norway has exported 2.2 million tonnes of seafood worth NOK 87 billion. The export volume has fallen by 4%, and the value has increased by 8% or NOK 6.3bn from the same period last year,” the Council said in the report.

Tom-Jørgen Gangsø: The NOK's fall against the US dollar has helped sales in dollar markets.
Tom-Jørgen Gangsø: The NOK's fall against the US dollar has helped sales in dollar markets.

Increased harvesting

Tom-Jørgen Gangsø, the Council’s director of market insight and market access, said there had been a significant volume growth in exports of both salmon and herring in October, which had contributed to the growth in value.

“This is due to increased harvesting and increased catches. In addition, a weakened Norwegian krone is a major contributor to seafood exports setting a new record for the month of October,” he said.

He said that throughout 2019, the Norwegian krone has depreciated against the major currencies, and this has helped to increase the export value measured in NOK. Measured against the US dollar, this year the krone has been on average 8% weaker than during the same period last year.

“Measured against the euro and the British pound, the Norwegian krone has been approx. 2.5% weaker,” said Gangsø.

14% rise in salmon exports

Norway exported 117,000 tonnes of salmon for NOK 6.7bn in October, a 14% volume increase and 4% value increase (NOK 261m) compared to October 2018.

So far this year, Norway has exported 922,000 tonnes of salmon for NOK 59bn. This is a volume increase of 7%, while the export value increased by 6% or NOK 3.2bn from the same period last year. The average price for whole fresh salmon in October was NOK 51.89 per kilo, compared with NOK 58.35 in October last year.

“Good production conditions have resulted in higher production than expected. We know that Poland is a large market for further processing, and much of the fish that goes there goes on for consumption in other markets,” said Frank Isaksen, chief analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Growth in China

He added that it is especially dollar markets, such as Asia, that have taken most of the export growth. Some of this can be explained by demand.

“Our analyses show that demand growth for salmon globally has been highest in China. At the same time, the Norwegian krone has depreciated more against the dollar than against the euro, which reinforces this effect,” explained Isaksen.

Victoria Braathen, the Seafood Council's fisheries envoy to China, said that so far this year, seafood exports to China had grown 41% in value and 15% in terms of volume. 

“Norwegian salmon is gaining market share and is gaining an increasing share of the Chinese market,” said Braathen.

Trout volumes up

Norway exported 6,700 tonnes of trout for NOK 375m in October. This is a 46% volume increase and a 30% (NOK 87m) value increase compared to October last year.

So far this year, Norway has exported 47,000 tonnes of trout for NOK 3bn. According to the Seafood Council, that is a volume increase of 31% and a value increase of 25% (NOK 600m) from the same period last year. Belarus and the United States have bought the most trout.  

“The trout have the same good growth conditions as the salmon, which has resulted in slightly more fish than expected earlier this year,” said Isaksen. 

“We see a levelling in the product mix, and the trend for fillet products has been overturned to the export of more whole fish.”

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