Pollock shipments halted for fear of falling prices
Monday, February 15, 2021, 08:00 (GMT + 9)
A 35% drop in wholesale prices for pollock due to the closure of Chinese ports led to a disruption in the supply of fish to the Russian market. Traders who work with fishmongers are abandoning deals, waiting for further price drops. Large distributors and processors have already faced a shortage of products. The latter urge the authorities to reconsider the schemes for supplying fish to the domestic market, minimizing the role of intermediaries. The Federal Fisheries Agency (Rosrybolovstvo) is concerned about the lack of correlation between the wholesale and retail price of fish and intends to discuss the problem with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the retail chains.
Large fish distributors and processors complain about difficulties in purchasing headless pollock in Central Russia. The issue was discussed in a meeting with Rosrybolovstvo deputy director Pyotr Savchuk on February 10, a meeting participant told Kommersant.
According to him, the problem arose from the reluctance of traders working with the Far Eastern fishing industry to buy and transport products until February 18. On this day, the PRC will end the weekend in connection with the Chinese New Year celebration and there will be a certainty with the opening of ports for Russian fish, which will affect wholesale prices, the source told Kommersant. China was the top importer of Russian fish, buying up to 600,000 tonnes of pollock per year before the COVID-19 pandemic. But in December, the country closed Dalian's last accessible seaport to it and, as of January 14, all borders.
In the Far East, fish have accumulated that are not being transferred to the market, confirms the president of the Fisheries Union, Alexander Panin.
Now, according to Rosrybolovstvo, a headless pollock costs 65 rubles per kg, compared with the usual price of about 100 rubles per kg. But if on February 18, China does not open its ports, this will cause a new drop in prices, and those who bought pollock at the current 65-70 rubles will only have to fix the losses, explains Panin. “If China does not open in February, the cost of pollock will fall to 40 rubles. per kg, and the fishermen will have no choice but to supply the catch at these prices ”, a participant in the meeting recounts the position of one of the traders.
According to a Kommersant source, large distributors such as the Russian Fish Company and Moreodor have already faced problems. The companies did not provide comment. The Association of Food Sector Organizations (ASORPS) also confirmed that there are practically no supplies of pollock to Central Russia. According to ASORPS president Mikhail Sinev, because of this, a few simple isothermal carts and reefer containers have already been formed, leading to the loss of operators.
There are no objective reasons for the shortage of pollock in the wholesale sector, according to the Federal Fisheries Agency. "The actions of traders can be seen as an attempt to pressure processors to buy raw materials at a higher price in the context of reports of a decrease in pollock production," said Dmitry Klokov, head of the press service agency set.
According to the Federal Fisheries Agency, on February 8, 216.02 thousand tons of pollock were collected in the Far East, which is 85.19 thousand tons less than the same level last year.
According to Dmitry Klokov, retail prices for pollock are not decreasing and are at the level of 140-150 rubles. per kg.