Norway exported 7,927 tonnes of frozen cod in February 2023, according to data released by the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC). This represented a volume decline of 2,107 tonnes (-21%) year-on-year (y-o-y), attributed to slower demand from the European market, which is where most Norwegian cod is consumed. Continuing a key theme from 2022, elevated plant costs and high raw material prices are prompting changes in European processor demand across whitefish categories. According to traders, manufacturers are substituting cod for cheaper varieties, such as hake and saithe, to keep raw material costs aligned with budgeted expenditure and, thus, maintain processing margins.
Tighter availability has also constrained Norwegian cod trade, due to a 20% reduction in the annual Barents Sea supply, shared by Norway and Russia, alongside poor harvesting conditions in Iceland and the Faroe Islands, also supporting Norwegian cod prices. Indeed, the average NOK-denominated price of Norwegian wholesale frozen cod exports increased by 25% in the year ending January 2023, earning Norwegian suppliers NOK 12 million (+2.5%) in additional revenues (+2.5%). The comparative strength of the EUR against the NOK is another bullish factor underpinning Norwegian cod. The EUR appreciated by 11% against the NOK in the year ending February 2023, implying that EUR-denominated seafood exports increase in value when re-converted to Norwegian currency.