May 7, 2013
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … Currencies are up and down for Alaska’s seafood customers – and a peek at salmon supplies. More after this –
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Between 60 and 70 percent of Alaska seafood is exported tocustomers around the globe, so the strength of their currencies against the US dollar affects sales. Typically, exporters benefit when their own currency is weak versus their customer. Tracking by the McDowell Group for ASMI (www.alaskaseafood.org) shows mid-year ups and downs for Alaska’s biggest seafood buyers.
On the down side: The Japanese yen has taken a big drop versus the dollar this year – not good for Alaska seafood exporters. Japan is a leading buyer of salmon roe, pollock roe, surimi, black cod, and crab. The British pound has weakened by roughly 6 percent since the beginning of the year, and has not been this weak versus the dollar since 2010. This is bad news for Alaska exporters, as the UK is the biggest buyer of canned sockeye salmon.
On the up side: Europe is Alaska’s largest export market for frozen pollock, cod and salmon and surimi. The Euro, which is used by 23 countries, is trading at about the same value versus the dollar at this time last year. However, last summer the Euro was really weak, so this year could be better for exporters selling to the Euro zones.
Exchange rates between the Chilean peso and the dollar impact trade prices for farmed salmon in the US, which in turn affects demand for wild, Alaska salmon, especially fresh and frozen pinks and chums. The peso is currently very strong versus the dollar — that’s good for Alaska because it makes the price of imported Chilean salmon more expensive from an American point of view.
Looking at wild salmon supplies: Total harvests from major producing countries are likely to increase 8 to 20 percent over last year, meaning up to almost 2.4 billion pounds. That includes catches from Alaska, Russia, Japan, and the Pacific Northwest.
Alaska’s salmon harvest forecast is for 179 million salmon this year, roughly 820 million pounds. Russia’s salmon fishery could top one billion pounds.
Tomorrow we’ll look at salmon roe markets —
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, celebrating 103 years of partnership with Alaska’s coastal communities. www.oceanbeauty.com In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.