Norway's salmon exports hit a record high for August. Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council.

Bumper month for Norwegian salmon exports

Norway exported 104,000 tonnes of salmon worth a near-record level NOK 6.2 billion (£561.7 million) last month, according to figures from the Norwegian Seafood Council.

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The volume was 5% up compared to August 2018, and the value of the exports increased by NOK 341m, or 6%.

It is the second-highest month for salmon export earnings on record, after October 2018.  

Monthly value of Norway's salmon exports (in billions of NOK). Click on image to enlarge. Table: Norwegian Seafood Council.

698,000 tonnes

In the first eight months of 2019, Norway exported 698,000 tonnes of salmon worth NOK 46.5bn.

“Norwegian salmon is in great demand in many markets, and especially in Asia,” said the Council in a press release.

The price achieved varied dramatically depending on the export market, with Europe paying less than Asia or North America.

Krone weak against dollar

“We have never had such a large price difference between markets as in August this year,” said Tom-Jørgen Gangsø, the Seafood Council’s director of market insight and market access. 

“While the average price to the EU was NOK 52.43, the price to Asia was NOK 14.19 higher and the price to North America NOK 16.47 higher.”

He said this was explained by a greater depreciation of the krone against the dollar than against the euro. In addition, an increased demand from Asia for large salmon, which cannot be met, can explain some of this difference.

Large salmon

Victoria Braathen, fisheries envoy for the Norwegian Seafood Council in China, said: “Driven by increased demand, we see continued very positive growth for Norwegian salmon to China. 

“More efficient trade means that more Norwegian salmon is now exported to China. It is fresh, whole salmon that dominates the salmon trade and Chinese buyers have a pronounced preference for large salmon.”

She explained that this affects both the availability of fish to the Chinese market and the price level compared to other markets that increasingly accept salmon of different sizes.

Trout exports up 61%

The Norwegian Seafood Council also reported that Norway exported 5,808 tonnes of trout worth NOK325m in August. Volume increased by 61%, while value increased by NOK 101m (45%) compared with August last year.

“So far this year, 55,000 tonnes of trout have been exported to a value of NOK 2.3bn. Belarus, the US and Thailand were our biggest trout market in August,” the Council said.

When wild catch is added, Norway exported 182,000 tonnes of seafood for a total of NOK 8.6bn in August, driven by a weak kroner and good demand in several markets.