Shifting export trends to the UK

Shifting export trends to the UK

SDC Market Watch – May 02, 2019

Total exports of fresh fish from Iceland to the US in 2018

What’s going on here?

The fillet prices in the UK are on an upward trend. The nation relies heavily on imports of Atlantic Cod to meet domestic demand. The total volume of all produced Atlantic cod fillets imported to the UK in 2018 were 63.265 tons and the avg. price for the year was 6,15 EUR per kg. The price increase is due to less supply of raw materials caused by cuts in quotas in the Barents Sea as well as the weakening of the British pound towards other currencies. Iceland a large supplier of fillets into the UK and frozen at sea fillets (FAS) are the largest product group of Atlantic Cod traded into the UK from Iceland. The trade-flow for 2018 shows a decrease in volume by 7.5% for FAS fillets and almost 15% in frozen fillets The same story applies when looking into volumes from other major suppling countries to the UK; volume decreases by almost 25% between years for frozen fillets imported from the Netherlands, mainly with Russian origin and almost 60% in the case of frozen fillets imported from China.

What does this mean?

This decrease in volumes of Atlantic Cod fillets in to the UK may mean that the British are now looking into more cost-effective alternatives like buying more whole fish and producing fillets locally in the UK. And/or they are buying cheaper species like fresh and frozen whole Haddock. In this regard, the statistics show that there is a volume increase of 13,43% of exports of fresh whole Atlantic Cod from Iceland into the UK. 84% increase of fresh whole haddock from Iceland and 12% increase for frozen whole haddock from Norway. A meaningful share of the Atlantic Cod fillets supply is now being sold to other markets. The numbers reflect that markets like Spain, France and the US are all growing markets for products of Atlantic Cod from both Iceland and Norway.

Why should I care?

For you, personally:

For the filleting producers you should monitor the price developments in the UK, as they are a key fillet market. For buyers in the UK, with price increases of Atlantic cod raw materials, you might have to look into substitute products like haddock and watch for the Alaska Pollock fillet trend from China into the UK.

The bigger picture:

The market law on supply and demand always applies. Global commodity prices on Atlantic Cod have increased due to the reduced supply caused by quota reductions in the Barents Sea and in this case the buyers in the UK have responded by buying more quantities of Atlantic Cod raw materials and producing more fillets themselves as well as turned to other species like haddock.

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