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3-Minute Market Insight

EP 669 | AIRED 12/04/2023

China Update: Post-Covid China, EU Russia Tariffs, Market Shifts, CNY Closures

Dec 4th, 2023 - Starting with the first post-Covid China Seafood Show, held from October 25th to 27th, the event was notably larger than in previous years. It attracted a predominantly Chinese audience focused on the domestic market, along with an increased presence of overseas companies, especially from Chile and Norway, emphasizing fresh salmon and processed products for the Chinese market.

Post-show, buyers visited various plants, leading to a surge in activity, although the order volume was still lower than in previous years, including the Covid period.

Regarding the upcoming Chinese New Year, there is a shift in production scheduling: plants may shut down 4 weeks before the holiday, rather than the typical 2 weeks. The holiday commences on February 10th, 2024.

In tariff news, the EU has confirmed a 13.7% tariff on Russian-origin whitefish, effective from January 1, 2024, to 2026. This will impact annually 340,000 tons of Pollock, 110,000 tons of Cod H&G, and 50,000 tons of once-frozen Cod fillets, irrespective of processing location. Unlike the existing tariff on fillets, this new tariff targets raw materials.

Despite these changes, Pollock prices are expected to remain stable, close to historic lows, with little room for further decrease. The EU market's strong preference for Pollock suggests limited potential for substitute products, and the tariff costs are likely to be borne by EU consumers, as costs won't be absorbed by Russian fleets or Chinese plants.

China Update: Post-Covid China, EU Russia Tariffs, Market Shifts, CNY Closures

This situation is leading processing plants to consider shifting their focus to North American markets, in response to the upcoming Pollock season and possible changes in Russian Pollock pricing.

With the new Pollock season approaching, Pacific Cod harvesting will be temporarily halted, potentially leading to a rise in Pacific Cod prices.


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Lastly, a major Chinese processor has completed a new plant 500 kilometers inland from Qingdao, set to begin production post-Chinese New Year. This facility, focusing on Pollock, Cod, and Salmon, expects an annual output of around 20,000 tons of raw materials and is poised for cost-saving advantages due to lower overhead costs.

China Update: Post-Covid China, EU Russia Tariffs, Market Shifts, CNY Closures

Our recommendation is to secure supplies for the coming year now, as many major seafood categories might be at the lowest point of their pricing trends.

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