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3-Minute Market Insight

EP 673 | AIRED 01/15/2024

China: Freight Rates, Processing Very Busy Now, Cod & Pollock Prices, CNY, Lent

Jan 15th, 2024 - Events surrounding Houthi Rebel attacks in the Suez Canal continue to significantly impact freight rates.

The costs for shipments from China to the European Union have now tripled in the past two weeks, while rates to North America have now doubled over the last week.

Shipping lines are adjusting their freight rates bi-daily, and the forecast is for further rate increases.

Adding to the pressure is the U.S. Executive Order banning Russian-origin seafood, has spurred increased activity in Chinese processing plants.

This surge is expected to last until January 20th as plants rush to ship goods before Chinese New Year closures, aiming to meet the February 21st deadline.

China: Freight Rates, Processing Very Busy Now, Cod & Pollock Prices, CNY, Lent

After this, significant price hikes for Pollock, Cod, and Salmon in the U.S. market are anticipated.

Moving onto main categories, as the Russian Pollock season begins, Chinese plants face uncertainty due to a lack of firm offers, leading to unclear pricing strategies.

Nonetheless, a significant drop in Russian Pollock prices is expected, especially in the EU market, where, despite a 13.7% tariff, it remains competitively priced.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., Alaska Pollock raw material prices are rising, now at USD $1650 per metric tonne, or $0.75/lb.


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For Pacific Cod, the market for Russian and U.S. Cod presents a mixed picture. The prices for Russian Cod (previously at $3500 per metric tonne for FAS Trawl and $3900 for longline), are projected to fall.

In contrast, the upcoming Alaska Cod season, starting in February, is attracting significant interest, with Chinese plants actively negotiating with U.S. suppliers.

Though prices are not yet set, indications point to strong pricing for Alaska Cod in the near future.

China: Freight Rates, Processing Very Busy Now, Cod & Pollock Prices, CNY, Lent

And finally, some key dates to note is that Chinese New Year falls on February 10th, 2024.

Prior to the new U.S. imposed February 21st deadline, Chinese plants had planned on closing up to a month early, however plants may now run until a week prior to the Chinese Holiday.

Concurrently, the Lenten season spans from February 14th to March 28th, 2024.

Our recommendation is to secure your supply now through Chinese New Year and Lent, as imminent price increases are expected due to a more limited availability of Pollock and Cod and rising freight costs.

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