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3-Minute Market Insight

EP 473 | AIRED 01/27/2020

2020 Forecast & Predictions - Atlantic Cod, Pacific Cod, Pollock; Flounder Tariff Clarification

January 27, 2020 --- In this week's episode we give you Forecasts & Predictions for the 2020 Seafood Market and provide clarification on recent discussions surrounding Flounder Tariffs.

The start of the year brought relief to many importers of Chinese processed seafood, after over 16 months of expensive and dynamic tariffs imposed by the US Trade Representative.

SINBAD Gold Pacific Cod

Several products were granted exclusions to lift the tariffs, which sparked interest from Flounder importers who are currently paying a 25 percent tariff on imports from China.
It was rumored that Flounder tariffs were removed, but upon further investigation, only one code for IQF Flatfish fillets is now exempt. Importers of IQF flatfish fillets labelled as either Greenland halibut/turbot, Sole, Flounder, Halibut, or Turbot will still pay the 25 percent tariff as only flatfish species OTHER than the items just listed are now excluded.

Flounder & Sole

The most common HTS code for Flounder is still included, but there are rumours that we could see tariffs lifted for all of the flatfish HTS codes wit hin the next few months, stay tuned.

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--- As we enter the new decade, the seafood market has hit it's annual winter-peak in pricing before new inventory comes in.

Kicking things off with both Cod markets and our prediction is that raw materials prices for Pacific and Atlantic Cod will continue to rise.

For A. Cod, our sources on the ground in China are reporting raw material prices at $4550 per metric tonne USD (or $2.06/lb) whereas offers from Norway are as much as $4750 per metric tonne USD (or $2.15/lb) as reported by UCN at GSMC 2020.

Pacific Cod

Our prediction is for A. Cod prices to remain steady to rise slightly based on sheer order volume however UCN is reporting at GSMC that there is a possibility prices could pass $5000 per metric tonne USD (or $2.27/lb).

Whatever might transpose through the year, our Buyer Alert here is taking on too strong of an inventory position as all markets can only bare a certain price level.

SINBAD Pollock
--- For Pacific Cod, raw materials prices are roughly between $2900 per metric tonne on the low end for Russian FAS Trawl to roughly $4000 per metric tonne USD on the higher end for Alaskan Longline translating to $1.32 and $1.81/lb respectively.

Our prediction is that pricing will rise on stronger raw material pricing.

In fact, all Cod markets should continue to rise in price until the Gulf of Alaska fishery re-opens and/or they increase the Total Allowable Catch which will bring the market back down.

The closure of the Gulf of Alaska Cod Fishery is equivalent to removing an estimated 26.5 milllion pounds of Cod from the marketplace in 2020.

This will really hurt one frozen cod supply as this Cod fishery supplies the plants raw materials to produce fillets.

Other factors to consider are that Russian boats will be catching Pollock until April/May, and there are talks the US quota will see further reductions next year by about 15 percent.

Go to our most recent Pacific Cod and Atlantic Cod episodes if you want to view catch data.

--- Now onto Pollock.

Alaska Pollock had a steady year harvesting over 1.5 million metric tonnes again and preliminary catch totals for Russia Pollock are for just over 1.5 millions metric tonnes as well.

Alaska's Pollock Total Allowable Catch will remain relatively the same at about 1.55 million metric tonnes whereas Russia will see it's TAC increase slightly to 1.83 million metric tonnes.

Our prediction will be for Pollock prices to drop slightly on lower raw materials cost from Russia.

Pacific Cod

Many large producers of Alaskan pollock are producing many value-added products and have become net purchasers, which will put pressure on raw material purchasing and may pressure the raw materials to become in short supply.

As reported at GSMC last week, there is a lot of product in US cold storages right now due to the Dec 15th impending tariff that never happened.

Although our prediction is for a slight drop in Pollock pricing, we may see a slight uptick after Chinese New Year as plants rush to buy raw material for production.

--- This concludes part one of our 2020 forecasts & predictions series, tune in next week as we report on other whitefish, Salmon and many more.

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