China pollock sales to Europe dive

September 24, 2012, 8:18 pm

European processors are buying lower volumes of double frozen pollock from China and, although single frozen exports from the US are up through July, the outlook is a drop in the last part of the year.

European processors are buying lower volumes of double frozen pollock from China, data shows.

Although European import data shows an increase from the US, the export of US pollock through July is down, suggesting a drop is coming in imports.

“There will likely be a lot less pollock blocks entering Europe from the US this year compared to last year, especially in the second half year, which is the peak consumption period in Europe,” a pollock industry source told Undercurrent News.

Sales of Alaska pollock from Chinese plants to Europe are down 12% for the year to July to 88,230 metric tons, according to Eurostat data.

Meanwhile, the import of Alaska pollock from the US though July is up 16% to 50,620 metric tons, according to Eurostat.

However, this includes B-season production from 2011 and A-season sales from earlier in the year, a source in the pollock business told Undercurrent.

The figures for US exports to Europe tell a different story.

US exports of Alaska pollock fillet blocks are down 37% to 37,145 metric tons through July, according to data from the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

The drop in US exports is not driven by lower demand, but by the reduced production of pin-bone out (PBO) pollock in favor of deepskin and surimi, for which demand is booming.

“I’m worried about the European market and how badly consumption is going,” the source said.

The causes for the decline in the European market has US-based executives on the supply side worried about the future, with some fearing it will follow what happened in the US, where quality steadily declined, dragging consumption with it.

“I am worried about the European market and the consumption, but I’m more worried about the possible reasons for the decline,” he said. “If the largest groundfish consumer market in the world is about to make the same mistakes as the US market and cut costs by downgrading quality, then we’ll all be in trouble.”

US China imports down

US imports of double frozen pollock blocks from China are also down on 2011.

Exports of Alaska pollock blocks from China to the US market are down 27% in July, with exports from China to Europe also down in July.

Sales of double frozen Alaska pollock blocks from Chinese plants to the US through July were 28,920 metric tons, compared to 39,865 metric tons for the first seven months of 2011.


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