Norway Sees Decline in H1 Seafood Exports

Norway exported seafood worth NOK80.6bn (EUR7.07bn) in the first half of the year. This is a decrease of NOK1.6bn, or 2%, compared with the same period last year.

“Although there was no growth in value, the first half of the year was the second best ever in terms of value. Only last year was better. A weak Norwegian krone and high prices for cod and salmon boosted value in the first five months of the year. However, the growth stopped in June, which is largely driven by falling salmon prices,” says Christian Chramer, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

“Despite the downturn, the seafood industry is delivering strong figures with the second-best half-year figures ever. Nevertheless, weakened purchasing power in key markets, lower export volumes and increased competition from other seafood nations is something we must take very seriously, including through our work on market access,” according to Marianne Sivertsen Næss (Ap), Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy.

In June, seafood exports fell by 18%, or NOK2.7bn, compared with the same month last year. This is a historic change. Never has the value of exports fallen by more than NOK2bn in a single month.

“Salmon still accounts for 70% cent of the total value of Norwegian seafood exports, so when the price of fresh whole salmon fell by as much as NOK 31 in June compared with the previous month, it had a major impact on the total value,” explains Chramer.

Salmon grew in value for 36 consecutive months before stalling in March this year. In the first half of the year, the value fell by NOK 1.8 billion, or 3 per cent, compared with the same period last year.

“The situation was demanding in the first half of the year. Biological challenges resulted in lower harvesting volumes and a change in product composition towards more fillets. In June, global competition from other producer countries also increased, which had a negative impact on prices. The battle for salmon customers has now really intensified,” says Christian Chramer.

Demand in the major consumer markets is still characterised by weakened purchasing power.

“Even with lower inflation and the prospect of real wage growth in our key EU market, prices for both food and other goods have risen more than incomes in recent years. Real wages in the EU are not expected to return to 2021 levels until 2025,” explains Chramer.

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