Norwegian producers exported seafood worth NoK13.1 billion in May, a 7% increase over the same month in 2022.
‘As in April, we also see a significant currency effect in May. The weak Norwegian krone alone contributed to an increase in export value of around NoK1.5 billion last month. Without this currency development, there would have been a decline in export value. The market situation has now become more demanding,’ said Christian Chramer, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council.
In Euro terms, export values fell by 8% in May, while measured in US$ the drop is 5% compared to the same period in 2022.
‘The re-opening after the corona pandemic and subsequent high inflation all over the world have contributed to raising global food prices in the past year. Together with the weak Norwegian krone, this has resulted in a strong increase in the value of seafood exports,’ Christian Chramer said.
‘Measured in Norwegian kroner, May was the year’s second strongest export month measured in value. However, if we measure the value in euros, which is the currency in which we trade most, this picture changes completely. Then May is the year’s weakest export month.’
May saw a decrease in export volume for cod, herring, trout, pollock, salmon and snow crab, while there was an increase in export volume for mackerel and haddock.
When it comes to export markets, Europe is still the largest destination for Norwegian seafood. In May, Europe’s share of export value was 68%, with Asia at 21% and North America at 9%.
‘We are seeing a shift in total Norwegian seafood exports from Europe to overseas markets such as Asia and North America. In May, we have never had a lower European value share than this year,’ he said.
‘The economic development in many of our important local markets in Europe is weak, and in the eurozone weaker economic growth is expected than in both the USA and our largest markets in Asia. In Europe, Germany is already in recession, while in France, households’ inflation-adjusted purchases of food fell in April to the lowest level since 2009,’ he explained, commenting that many consumers are adjusting their shopping habits by choosing cheaper products and buying more food on sale. In addition, they are reducing their consumption of both meat and fish.
‘In recent months, we have seen a fall in the total home consumption of salmon, cod and seafood in all major European seafood markets,’ Christian Chramer said, emphasising that rising food prices for consumers do not necessarily benefit food producers.
According to the food price index of FAO, raw material prices for several foodstuffs have started to fall. This same trend is also applied to Norwegian seafood exports.
‘Export prices measured in foreign currency are falling for many Norwegian seafood products. As many as eight of our ten largest export products had a lower export price in euros in May than the month before, and half had a lower export price than May last year,’ Christian Chramer said.