At NOK 128.3/kg on 15th March 2023, the weighted average salmon price (fresh Atlantic superior, 3-6kg) on Norway’s NASDAQ Salmon Index surpassed the record high of the previous week by NOK 3.8/kg (+3.1%). Since bottoming at NOK 57.39/kg in late-August 2022, the NASDAQ price has gained NOK 71.0/kg (+223.6%). The record highs through March 2023 have been largely due to currency exchange rates, with the NOK continuing to depreciate sharply against the EUR, in line with the European Central Bank’s (ECB) hawkish monetary policy, meaning that Norwegian salmon exported in EUR increase in value when converted into NOK. Approximately 50-60% of Norwegian salmon exports are typically EUR-denominated, according to sources.
Notwithstanding currency, the global salmon market is still underpinned by a bullish current. According to one market expert, Norwegian salmon output growth is likely to be limited by colder-than-average water temperatures in H1 2023, which is a crucial growth period, in addition to low salmon biomass attributed to premature harvests that occurred in late-2022. Controversy regarding the Norwegian government’s impositon of a 40% tax on salmon farms provides another supply threat, given expectations that some players will be forced to exit the industry, thus lowering domestic capacity. Norwegian live salmon inventory levels, measured in weeks of consumption, fell to record lows through 2022, and many observers forsee this trend continuing through 2023.
Supply concerns are further compounded by problems in Chile, the world’s second-largest producer, and a rival salmon exporter to the European market. Large outbreaks of salmonid rickettsial septicaemia (SRS) were recorded in Chilean farms in late-2022, which is expected to weigh on early season output, while recent government regulations have also limited aquacultural capacity growth. This limits the price-dampening potential for Chilean salmon exporters to fill any gaps in Norwegian volumes.