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Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council

Norway exported seafood worth U$D 1.19 billion in May – saved by the weak krone

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Tuesday, June 06, 2023, 01:00 (GMT + 9)

Norway exported NOK 13.1 billion worth of seafood in May. This is an increase of NOK 816 million, or 7 per cent, compared to 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 NOK 1.5 billion last month. Without this currency development, there would have been a decline in export value. The market situation has now become more demanding”, says Christian Chramer, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

When measured in euros, export value fell by 8 per cent in May, while measured in dollars it fell by 5 per cent, compared to the same month last year.

Increase in value due to currency effect and food inflation

“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”, says Chramer.

So far this year, NOK 67.5 billion worth of seafood has been exported. This represents a growth of NOK 9.9 billion compared to the same period last year.

May was the year's weakest export month measured in euros

“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”, says Chramer.

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.

Asia and North America take a growing share of exports

When it comes to export markets, Europe is still the biggest destination for Norwegian seafood. In May, Europe´s share of export value was 68 per cent, with Asia (at 21 per cent) and North America (at 9 per cent) trailing behind.

“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”, says Christian Chramer.

Sky-high food inflation

Although overall inflation is falling in many markets, food inflation in Europe is still very high.

“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”, Chramer explains.

Changing consumer behaviours

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”, says Christian Chramer.

Falling commodity prices

The Norwegian Seafood Council's managing director emphasizes that rising food prices for consumers do not necessarily benefit food producers.

According to the food price index of FAO, which is the UN's Organization for nutrition and Agriculture, 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”, says Chramer.

Facts about seafood exports in May

  • Seafood was exported to a total of 115 countries in May. This is two fewer than the same month last year.
  • The largest markets for Norwegian seafood exports in May were Denmark, Poland and the USA
  • The USA had the largest increase in value this month with an increase in export value of NOK 251 million, or 30 per cent, compared to the same month last year.
  • The export volume to the USA ended at 8,345 tonnes, which is 16 per cent higher than the same month last year.

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