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3-Minute Market Insight

EP 546 | AIRED 07/12/2021

China Update: Shipping Chaos, Raw Materials Pricing All Up, Potential Normal By October

July 12, 2021--- This week we provide our latest China Update for news on the current shipping conditions out of China and an update on the return of North American shipments - that are coming, with a price.

--- Plants were told by shipping agents that bookings to North America will be available this July, however, booking won’t be as easy as expected as many boats are still sitting in the US and can’t go back to China due to COVID policies and protocols.

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With this news, some shipping lines have started to ask processing plants in China to bid on future bookings to secure their products.

Our sources tell us the costs have been astronomically high with news of some suppliers paying around $20,000 for one container.

Importing raw material will continue to become increasingly hard over the next few months, with some suppliers in North America suggesting plants should grab everything they can as less raw material will be available in China for the rest of the year.

Import charges have increased dramatically from $50-100 and 5 days maximum, now up to $300-500 and up to 50 day, plus container detention as shipping lines provide a 21 day maximum.

The results of these import fees could be costly for suppliers with some experiencing major delays.

For reference, one major processor bought 500 tons of Flounder in January which they only started receiving last week.

Our sources in China advised it is likely that some plants won’t survive this year as they can’t afford to lose any more money.

Suppliers are very hesitant to ship anything to China right now in fear of orders being returned, especially in regards to Dalian where the importing policy at the port is different from other ports.

Chinese government policy states that once a container is tested positive of Covid, only that container needs to be returned.

China Raw Materials Pricing

However, Dalian’s policy states if one container tests positive, all containers on the bill of lading will need to be returned.

Some bills of lading have up to 20 containers on it, something suppliers are unsure they are willing to risk.

It was reported one processor experienced two bills of lading returned with 20 containers of Pollock, and another processor had one bill of lading returned with 10 containers of Cod.

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--- Now moving onto the state of raw materials pricing in China.

The price of Pollock continues to sit at $1,450 per metric tonne USD (or $0.70/lb USD) since we last reported on it in June.

Russian Pollock is readily available in Russia as they refrain from selling to China in fear of the shipment being returned.

Alaskan bycatch Cod will begin this August when Flounder catching also starts their B season.

Russian boats are offering Pacific Cod at $4,000 per metric tonne (or $1.80/lb USD) for long line with prices still expected to rise over the next few weeks.

Haddock plants have started receiving some fish, however, they have been disappointingly small sizes starting around 300-500g and 500-1000g.

As Russian raw materials continue to experience obstacles entering China, pricing for Norwegian products has gone up from $3200 to $3800 per metric tonne (or $1.75/lb USD).

For Salmon, plants have started to hear firm offers on Pinks from Russia starting around $3,700 per metric tonne (or $1.70/lb USD) and Chum pricing around $4,400 (or $2.00/lb USD) set with CFR China increased import costs.

The whitefish import and domestic supply market is hot due to lack of supply and inventory from Asia and domestic production being negligible.

Buyer beware of the importers that are still flogging 80-90 net weight products. These products are everywhere in volatile markets, much like the market we are currently in.

Also beware of importers quoting prices before the product arrives, to then disclose freight costs have unexpectedly risen and are available for the new increased price. Although we know from experience that we are aware of our freight costs from Asia before the product leaves.

Our recommendation is to act fast on quality offers from quality suppliers. Prices will change daily, but there is no downward pressure on pricing we can see.

It’s been three steps forward, three steps back right now but Insider knowledge leads us to believe inventory levels should be closer to normal come October.

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