The latest Eurostat data reveals that Spanish imports of canned tuna have fallen substantially in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic supporting a domestic spike for retail-friendly varieties. Spanish consumers bought 22,930 tonnes of canned tuna in H1 2020, representing a 30% year-on-year (y-o-y) decline, notwithstanding significantly lower import prices.
Spanish tuna imports from Ecuador, the largest supplier to the Spanish market, fell by 32% y-o-y in H1 2020 to 13,338 tonnes, while imports from the second-largest supplier, Mauritius, fell by over 50% during the period. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic squeezed Ecuadorian supply, due to several outbreaks forcing fleets to curtail activities. However, the average delivered price paid by Spanish importers per tonne of Ecuadorian canned tuna in H1 2020 fell by 12% y-o-y to EUR 3,361/MT cost and freight (CFR), as suppliers aggressively attempted to increase European market share.
Spain is Europe’s top tuna-harvesting country and also a major processing hub, supplying canned tuna throughout the EU. Average wholesale prices of Spanish albacore tuna – a popular variety of fresh and canned consumption variety – increased by 9% y-o-y in H1 2020 to EUR 6.50/kg. This could be attributed to the spike in retail demand for ready-to-eat, and easily storable fish for home consumption, during the escalating crisis. However, average albacore wholesale prices for the three-months ending 1st November 2020 fell by 12% quarter-on-quarter and 8% y-o-y to EUR 4.63/kg, amid firm catch volumes and reports of robust Ecuadorian supply. Heightened lockdown measures across Spain and some of its EU export partners provides some upside price potential during the remainder of Q4 2020.