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Frozen Seafood Market Forecast Indicates Bullish Trend in Sep

September 6, 2010

The Fisheries Agency assembled the 2nd Frozen Seafood Supply-Demand Information Workshop, presided by Kagoshima Univ. Professor Masaki Sano, to discuss the July-September trend of salmon/trout, shrimp, and other aquatic varieties.

Predicted Bullish Moves of Salmon/Trout and Shrimp

[Salmon/Trout] How many chum salmon will end up swimming back despite warmer seawaters in Hokkaido is a focal point.

Imports: The harvesting of sockeye salmon has almost concluded in North America and Russia. While North America racked up the forecast output, the amount shipped to Japan will go down as a result of domestic consumption in the US. A Russian variety will remain unchanged from the previous year.

Farmed Variety: Salmon from Norway and Chile have dwindled. The erupted volcanoes in Iceland impeded shipment from Norway. Chile is slated for full-fledged production of trout in September. Generally speaking, farmed salmon/trout will exhibit a somewhat declining trend.

Market: Chilean farmed coho salmon, a high-volume commodity, has displayed a bullish tendency when likened to last year. Sockeye salmon and trout have likewise moved in a similar fashion. Frozen products, as salt preserved coho salmon, have struggled to move up in value.

Retail: Owing to high-priced fresh products, retailers have covered fresh salmon/trout sales by avoiding raising rates of salt-preserved products. The stifling heat wave has triggered the declining sales of salt-preserved products, leading to the overall slacking sales.

[Shrimp] The Gulf oil spill galvanizing the US demand into looking to Asia for supply has been inflating prices at the producing sites in Asia. Unit prices of shrimp coming to Japan have been unaffected; however, when the shrinking shrimp size is calculated, the prices are in actuality going up.

Supply: Supply is remaining the same as last year. India now is having the peak harvesting time of black tiger shrimp (BT), whereas a disease outbreak in Vietnam has inflicted reduced crops. The reaping of vannamei shrimp in Thailand is getting active; on the other hand, Indonesian vannamei is nearly facing the total devastation due to the onset of a virus.

Market: BT is a dominating presence in the market, generating a price gap with vannamei; yet, vannamei shrimp is gaining its ground. Small sizes are reasonable, showing stability; large ones are rather in short supply with higher value. With the situation remaining unchanged, low price items are enjoying attention and expensive ones are staying seated. The wholesale prices, contrasted with a year ago, will move bullishly.

Retail: Low unit price merchandise tends to sell well. If the buoying up of prices seen at the producing places is reflected on the retail prices, the merchandise will end up remaining on the shelf. Because of the scorching heat, shrimp with shells emit strong odor, making them unpopular. Conversely, shelled shrimp are going favorably.

The original article was published on September 6, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Tuna Supply-Demand Forecast: Imports May Decline

September 3, 2010

The Fisheries Agency convened the 2nd 2010 Tuna Supply-Demand Forecast Workshop. The following is what was predicted:

[Production] In deep fisheries, both performance and values were rewarding in the Pacific Ocean, on the eastern side in particular; now they are calming down. The leading factors of the faltering productions stem from reduced fishing grounds, to one-third of recent years in the Indian Ocean, and unfavorable catches continuingly demonstrated in the Atlantic Ocean. In terms of coastal fisheries, partly because it is time for them to wrap up fishing operations, the yields are significantly scant compared with past years. Longlinig fishing is shifting to albacore, a move especially noticeable this year. The overall output is projected to show a slight downward trend contrasted with last year.

[Imports] The red tune meat yield at every fishing ground is small; the output from the Indian Ocean exceptionally has shrunk. Fatty tuna will tumble due to a 40 percent reduction in fishing quota of Australian Southern bluefin tuna. Higher set prices of a frozen kind in Australia have buoyed up the shipping of frozen tunas over fresh ones. Atlantic fixed-netted bluefin tunas have been coming in from the Mediterranean; nevertheless the supply will fluctuate depending on when tunas being held up for customs clearances in response to the ICCAT regulation, will be released. The overall import amounts will fall short of the last year's record.

[Wholesale Price] Fish markets brought in 1,500 bigeye tunas (red meat) to mark the Obon festival - a Buddhist custom to honor the ancestors. In spite of their decent prices, the more-than-before amount of the fish failed to move, resulting in markdowns of 40 percent of all. Ever stalling demand on luxury items has induced a new mode to, instead of yellowfin tuna, a norm until last year, cheaper albacore and even cheaper tunas from Fiji. Overall, the wholesale prices will somewhat show a weak shift.

[Consumption] Albacore tunas account for two-thirds of all tunas at supermarkets; the rest of one-third is taken by red meats of deep-sea purse seined yellowfin. Furthermore, owing to the extreme heat wave this summer demand has been eroding.

In summary, the all-inclusive prediction is a slight decline to decline in tuna production, import, and supply amounts and a relatively bearish trend of wholesale prices.

The original article was published on September 3, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

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