Chilean Atlantic salmon export volumes rose by 37,000 tonnes (+13%) y-o-y during Jan-May 2021, to 322,000 tonnes. Strong regional sales were noted during this period, particularly to the Latin American market, where fresh salmon exports grew by approximately 15,000 tonnes (+36.5%), more than offsetting a 3,589 tonnes contraction (-56.5%) in fresh exports to China. At 322,000 tonnes, aggregate Chilean exports of fresh and frozen fillets increased by 17,000 tonnes (+21.0%) y-o-y during Jan-May 2021, with strong sales to the Americas, Taiwan and South Korea outweighing weak Chinese demand.
This resurgent export demand from Asia and the Americas underpinned the continued rally of Chilean salmon prices, which surged to USD 8.55/kg in July, the highest monthly average since Mintec started tracking the series in January 2012. Chilean salmon prices have shown almost constant m-o-m growth since November 2020, with tight supply also providing support. Low profitability in 2020 led local farmers to seed less juvenile fish to harvest in 2021 and 2022. Indeed, Kontali expects the Chilean harvest to contract by 119,000 tonnes (-15.3%) y-o-y in 2021 to 659,000 tonnes.Thus, Chilean inventories are expected to come under pressure through H2 2021, particularly in the face of continued firm export demand, fuelling a bullish H2 2021 price outlook.