Press release -
Norway exported seafood worth NOK 13,1 billion in May – saved by the weak krone
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.
The growth trend in the EU market has reversed for salmon
- Norway exported 82,148 tonnes of salmon to a value of NOK 9.6 billion in May.
- Export value increased by NOK 1.2 billion, or 14 per cent, compared to May last year.
- Export volume fell by 2 per cent
- Poland, the USA and Denmark were the biggest markets for salmon in May
“In the most important market for Norwegian salmon, the EU, we see that the growth trend has reversed. One example of this is fresh whole salmon to the EU. There, the export volume fell by 6 per cent in May, to 44,874 tonnes, while the price measured in euros fell by 4 per cent", says Paul T. Aandahl, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Asia is increasing its share of exports
The share of exports to Asia was 22 per cent in May. This is the highest proportion since the beginning of the 2000s.
“China had the greatest growth in value in May, with an increase in export value of NOK 218 million, or 83 per cent, compared to the same month last year”, says Aandahl.
Strong demand for salmon in China
The export volume to China ended at 3,297 tonnes, which is 86 per cent higher than the same month last year.
“In 2022, May was marked by a full shutdown in Shanghai and, in general, a lot of uncertainty in the market around the corona pandemic. Since the turn of the year, the re-opening in China has created a strong demand for salmon that has persisted”, says Andreas Thorud, the Norwegian Seafood Council's envoy to China.
Growth in the grocery trade
It is the hotel, restaurant and canteen segment that is the most important channel for Norwegian salmon in the Chinese market.
“At the same time, there is an increasing demand in the grocery trade for fresh salmon for home consumption. We now also see this trend outside the very largest cities”, says Thorud.
In addition to China, the export value to South Korea and Thailand is also increasing strongly.
Fall in value and volume for trout
- Norway exported 3,085 tonnes of trout worth NOK 361 million in May
- The export value fell by NOK 52 million, or 13 per cent, compared to May last year
- Export volume fell by 24 per cent
- The USA, Thailand and Lithuania were the biggest markets for trout in May
Poland had the largest increase in value this month, with an increase in export value of NOK 16 million, or 301 per cent, compared to the same month last year.
The export volume to Poland ended at 201 tonnes, which is 213 per cent higher than the same month last year.
A decline in exports of fresh cod
- Norway exported 4,277 tonnes of fresh cod worth NOK 246 million in May
- Export value increased by NOK 29 million, or 13 per cent, compared to May last year
- Export volume fell by 9 per cent
- Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden were the biggest markets for fresh cod in May
The decrease in landings of fresh cod also continued in May, and even with increased exports of farmed cod, this resulted in a decrease in total exports of fresh cod.
10.5 per cent of the export value of fresh cod in May was farmed cod, and the export volume of farmed cod increased from 100 tonnes in May last year to over 500 tonnes this year.
Export volume growth for Spain and France
“The export volume to our transit market Denmark fell, while Spain and France stand out due to significant volume growth. All direct exports of fresh cod to Spain in May were farmed cod, while to France the volume of both fillets and whole wild-caught cod increased”, says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Export volume to Spain increased by 70 per cent in May, ending at 177 tonnes, and an export value totalling NOK 11 million.
The export volume to France more than doubled to 163 tonnes, and a total export value of NOK 10.2 million.
Decline to China affected exports of frozen cod
- Norway exported 7,256 tonnes of frozen cod with a value of NOK 403 million in May
- The export value fell by NOK 34 million, or 8 per cent, compared to May last year
- Export volume fell by 11 per cent
- Great Britain, China and Poland were the biggest markets for frozen cod in May
The decline for frozen cod is driven by almost a halving of the volume to China, falling from 2,100 tonnes in May last year to 1,200 tonnes this year.
The UK had the greatest increase in value in May, with an increase of NOK 51 million, or 64 per cent, compared to the same month last year.
Growth for frozen whole cod and frozen fillets to the UK
“The export volume to Great Britain in May ended at 1,900 tonnes, which is 58 per cent higher than the same month last year. Exports of both frozen whole cod and frozen fillets to Great Britain increased in May. Only a month earlier, more frozen whole cod had been exported to Great Britain in a single month, and this was in October 2016”, says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
So far this year, more than 7,000 tonnes of frozen cod have been exported to Great Britain, and we must go all the way back to 2002 to find a similar volume after the first five months of the year.
Strong position for whitefish in the British market
“The May figures still show strong demand for Norwegian whitefish and frozen cod. This confirms the close seafood bond between Norway and Great Britain and the strong position of Norwegian white fish among British consumers. A significant part of the British favourite dish fish & chips is made with Norwegian fish”, says Victoria Braathen, the Norwegian Seafood Council's envoy to the UK.
At the same time, she emphasizes that there are still challenging times for many UK consumers.
“Increased costs, coupled with the fact that Britons work more from home, means that there are more occasions to eat at home and therefore an opportunity to develop the seafood category through product development and marketing”, says Braathen.
A decline in clipfish exports
- Norway exported 4,600 tonnes of clipfish totalling NOK 330 million in May
- The export value fell by NOK 206 million, or 38 per cent, compared to May last year
- Export volume fell by 43 per cent
- Portugal, the Dominican Republic and Brazil were the largest markets for clipfish in May
The export volume for cod clipfish fell by 54 per cent to 1,500 tonnes, and the export value ended at NOK 178 million, while the export volume of seine clipfish fell by 37 per cent to 2,650 tonnes and an export value of NOK 126 million.
“Both cod clipfish of cod and pollack saw a significant decrease in export volume to all the largest markets in May”, says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Fall in volume but increase in value for salted fish exports
- Norway exported 4,311 tonnes of salted fish to a value of NOK 374 million in May
- Export value increased by NOK 12 million, or 3 per cent, compared to May last year
- Export volume fell by 17 per cent
- Portugal, Spain, and Italy were the biggest markets for salted fish in May
The decline in exports of salted fish continues in May.
Less cod available
“Lower landings of fresh whole cod during this year's fishing season have resulted in less cod available for salting. When, in addition, there has been a lower proportion of landings of large cod this year, which traditionally go to salting, this results in a lower export volume for salted cod, says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Increase to Portugal
Portugal had the greatest increase in value in May, with an increase in export value of NOK 23 million, or 7 per cent, compared to the same month last year.
The export volume to Portugal ended at 3,762 tonnes, which is 13 per cent lower than in the same month last year.
Export value gains for dried fish
- Norway exported 163 tonnes of dried fish to a value of NOK 47 million in May
- The value increased by NOK 13 million, or 39 per cent, compared to May last year
- The volume fell by 13 per cent
- Italy, the USA, and the UK were the biggest markets for dried fish in May
The export volume to our largest dried fish market, Italy, fell by 21 per cent in May, to 85 tonnes.
“The export value to Italy ended at NOK 27 million, which is an increase of 18 per cent compared to May last year. So far this year, the export volume of dried fish to Italy is 920 tonnes. This is 2 per cent lower than last year”, says seafood analyst Eivind Hestvik Brækkan with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
A decline in herring exports
- Norway exported 10,308 tonnes of herring worth NOK 182 million in May
- The value of exported herring fell by NOK 91 million, or 33 per cent, compared to May last year
- Export volume fell by 52 per cent
- Poland, Egypt, and France were the biggest markets for herring in May
North Sea herring fishing started in week 18, and the catch is well behind last year´s bumper May harvest. By the end of week 21 (28 May), Norwegian boats had landed 11,000 tonnes, compared to 26,500 tonnes in 2022.
“The herring have been small and also with low-fat content. Around half the catch has gone to flour and oil”, says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
In May, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) published its quota guidelines for North Sea herring in 2024. The council has increased the quota to 532,000 tonnes, compared to 403,000 tonnes in 2023. An increase of 28.3 per cent.
“Naturally, the reduced landings, are reflected in lower export figures. In addition
We´re contrasting this year, with May 2022, which was the best year since 2011 in terms of volume. Last year also saw the strongest May export figures ever, in terms of value”, says Johnsen.
Egypt is the largest export market for whole herring
Egypt took the prize in May as the largest export destination for whole herring, taking approximately half of all frozen whole herring from Norway during the month. A total of 27,000 tonnes of herring have been exported to Egypt so far this year, compared to 29,000 tonnes in the same period last year. The second largest market for whole frozen herring is Lithuania (1,200 tonnes).
Good growth of herring fillets to Poland
“For herring fillets, Poland dominates, and here we see robust growth compared to last year. In May, 2,200 tonnes of fillet went to Poland. This is double as much as the same month in 2022”, explains Jan Eirik Johnsen.
So far, exports to Poland amount to NOK 283 million, compared to NOK 203 million in the same period last year, so this equates to a growth of 39 per cent. Export volume is up from 13,600 tonnes to 17,300 tonnes, an increase of 27 per cent.
A strong month for mackerel
- Norway exported 9,900 tonnes of mackerel to a value of NOK 226 million in May
- The value increased by NOK 90 million, or 66 per cent, compared to May last year
- Export volume grew by 46 per cent
- South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand were the biggest markets for mackerel in May
“We are in low season for mackerel exports, but if we look at the season, it started in August last year and until now, we´ve seen great stability in both the volume of mackerel landed in Norway and the volume exported”, says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
During this period, 368,000 tonnes were landed in the 22/23 season, compared to 355,000 tonnes in the 21/22 season. This is an increase of 3.6 per cent. Exports in the same period for 22/23 were 308,000 tonnes compared to 303,000 tonnes for 21/22. This is an increase of 1.6 per cent.
Good market demand from Asia
“In the same period, the export value has increased from NOK 5.4 billion to NOK 6.3 billion, an increase of 17.3 per cent. The weak Norwegian krone is helping to drive prices up, but at the same time we also see good demand in Asia. One of the reasons for this are declining mackerel catches and a shortage of large mackerel in several of the Asian countries”, says Jan Eirik Johnsen.
Strong export volume growth for king crab
- Norway exported 154 tonnes of king crab worth NOK 76 million in May
- The value increased by NOK 39 million, or 102 per cent, compared to May last year
- There is a growth in the volume of 178 per cent
- The USA, South Korea and Hong Kong SAR were the biggest markets for king crab in May
The market situation and logistics were far better in May this year than at the same time last year when the logistics of live goods to Asia were affected by closed airspace over Russia.
May was the all-time best export month for King crab
“May was the strongest month ever for king crab exports. Increased landings have resulted in increased exports of both frozen and live king crab of 53 and 45 tonnes respectively”, says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
The US was the largest market for both live and frozen king crab in May. Exports ended at 51 tonnes in total, which is 150 per cent higher than the same month in 2022.
The export value increased by NOK 18 million, or 137 per cent.
“Growth has come primarily from increased exports of frozen goods, as there is starting to be less and less Russian king crab available in stock, says Voraa.
A weak May for snow crab
- Norway exported 347 tonnes of snow crab to a value of NOK 32 million in May
- The value fell by NOK 79 million, or 71 per cent, compared to May last year
- The volume fell by 44 per cent
- The USA, Vietnam and Indonesia were the biggest markets for snow crab in May
Exports of snow crab in May are lower than it has been in the last two years.
“This is primarily due to increased exports early in the year as a result of increased landings early in the season”, says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
The USA was the largest market in May
The United States was the largest market for snow crab in May.
“This market thus continues the growth we have seen so far this year, measured in volume. The export price, on the other hand, is NOK 105 per kg, or 56 per cent, lower than it was in the same month last year, explains Voraa.
A fall in export value and volume for prawn
- Norway exported 1,396 tonnes of prawns worth NOK 112 million in May
- The value fell by NOK 6 million, or 5 per cent, compared to May last year
- The volume fell by 44 per cent
- Sweden, Great Britain, and Denmark were the biggest markets for prawns in May
The decrease in the export of prawns in May is primarily due to a decrease in the export of industrial prawns to Iceland. In the same month last year, 1,414 tonnes were exported, compared to nothing this year. The decrease amounts to NOK 37.8 million measured by export value.
Frozen peeled prawns are the biggest product
“Frozen peeled prawns accounted for 62 per cent of the export value in May. The export volume is flat, but export value increased by 9 per cent compared to May 2022”, says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Cooked peeled prawn accounted for the largest growth in volume and value.
The impact of increased landings
“Increased landings have driven the 874 per cent rise in export volumes to 513 tonnes”, says Voraa.
Increased demand and a weakened krone have contributed to the export price of NOK 64 per kg being 19 per cent higher than in May last year.
Ukraine is both in May and so far this year the largest export market for frozen, cooked peeled prawn.
The Norwegian Seafood Council works with the Norwegian fisheries and aquaculture industries to develop markets for Norwegian seafood through local market intelligence, market development and reputational risk management. The Seafood Council is headquartered in Tromsø and maintains local representatives in twelve of Norway's most important international markets. The Norwegian seafood industry finances the activities of the Norwegian Seafood Council via a tariff on all Norwegian seafood exports.
The Norwegian Seafood Council is a public company owned by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.