Mintec recently reported on the sharp decline in seafood prices through H1 2020, driven by weak demand, particularly from public foodservice vendors (restaurants, hotels, sushi bars, etc). Indeed, a Mintec composite index of four commonly consumed seafood products recently (salmon, cod, pollock and prawns) showed a 39 point drop between the base period – January 2020 – and late April, as the global economy slowed to a halt from the COVID-19 pandemic. A subsequent upturn was seen from May to mid-June, primarily on the back of firmer Chinese demand resulting from lockdowns easing. However, average prices have since charted a downward trajectory with China re-implementing stringent import controls on seafood due to subsequent cases of COVID-19 re-escalating in Beijing.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) expects the global seafood industry to experience prolonged fallout from the pandemic, most notably through thin demand and weak prices. Indeed, the FAO predicts salmon demand to fall by at least 15% y-o-y in 2020, and retail sales look uncertain for the foreseeable future, underlining subdued price expectations. In its biennial ‘State of Fisheries and Aquaculture’ report, the organization predicts global seafood production to fall by 1.7% year-on-year (y-o-y) in 2020, estimated at nearly USD 6bn.