Tuna - April 2015
2015-04-23 14:18:52   copyfrom:thefishsite    hits:

Export revenue from canned tuna declined in producing countries, while record low raw material price persisted in 2014.

Despite the declining price of raw material, Southeast Asian canned tuna producers exported less to the traditional large markets of the USA and the EU where consumer demand did not improve much during the first nine months of 2014. However, exports to the Middle East and West African markets were better while the number of small but new markets also increased worldwide.
The 4-month FAD fishing ban ended in October 2104 in the Western and Central Pacific and catches have been mode moderate since then. The delivery price of skipjack to Thailand declined to USD 1 150/tonne in December 2014, which is 41% below the price canners paid a year ago. Thai canneries reported higher activity, while frozen inventory declined to some extent.
Catches in the Eastern Pacific are also moderate while canneries are holding healthy inventories. Skipjack prices have decreased to USD 1 100 - 1 200/tonne ex vessel Manta and yellowfin prices to USD 1 900/tonne. The second IATTC veda closure is in force from 18 November 2014 until 18 January 2015 when nearly 60% of the fleet will stop fishing.
Fishing in the Indian Ocean has been poor, but inventories at local canneries are good for the time being. As a result skipjack prices have decreased to EUR 750/tonne FOB Mahe. In contrast, yellowfin prices have increased to EUR 1 775/tonne.
In December skipjack and yellowfin prices weakened to EUR 750/tonne and EUR 1 750/tonne ex vessel Abidjan, respectively . The ICCAT FAD closure is in force from 1 January to 28 February 2015.
The European market skipjack prices are stable at EUR 900/tonne CFR Spain but weakened  slightly for yellowfin at EUR 1 950/tonne. The market price for cooked, double-cleaned yellowfin loins is firm at USD 8 500/tonne DDP Italy.
Tuna landings in Japan during the first nine months of 2014 were mixed overall. Landings of frozen tuna mainly came from distant water fishing and declined marginally. However, fresh fish landings from the Japanese coastal waters were much lower than the same period last year. The main reasons were the implementation of national regulations for sustainable fisheries and the aging fishing community in the country.
Lower supplies of local tuna, however, did not increase prices as consumer demand for sashimi tuna among the younger Japanese is shrinking. The market preference has also been moving towards frozen tuna products such as loins.
Non-canned tuna market (fresh and frozen)
Restaurant business was somewhat disrupted in early autumn when a number of sightseeing tours were cancelled because of the eruption of Mount Ontake where 54 mountain climbers died.
Japanese imports of tuna (all categories) were 2.75% higher during January-September 2014, at 168 204 tonnes because of higher imports of frozen tuna compared with the same period a year ago. However, the weak yen negatively impacted imports of high-priced fresh tuna, irrespective of species. Supplies of air-flown fresh/chilled tuna into Japan were at a 10-year low during the first nine months of 2014.
Demand for red meat quality tuna (mainly bigeye), loins has increased among the fast food kaiten sushi restaurants; sales in general has been 3-7% higher during the reporting period compared with the same period in 2013. As a result imports of red meat quality frozen tuna loins increased to 19 087 tonnes in the January-September 2014 period from 18 470 tonnes imported in the same period a year ago.
Sashimi tuna sales were also brisk during December’s festive period, when consumer demand was doubled for high value bluefin as well as bigeye tuna.
The positive demand trend for non-canned tuna continued in the USA market. Imports of both fresh and frozen tuna (whole/dressed and loins/fillets) were higher during the first nine months of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013.
Whole/dressed air-flown tuna imports went up by 3.2%, with supplies of premium priced bluefin 24% higher than last year. Fresh bluefin imports from Mexico were 35% more at 228 tonnes compared with the corresponding period in 2013.
Imports of frozen bluefin also increased by nearly 18% to 414 tonnes, primarily consisting of Atlantic bluefin. Import demand for frozen tuna fillet and loins also increased during this period.
US imports of cooked loins, used for processing canned and pouched tuna increased by 7.7% during the reporting period; almost 65% of the supply came from Thailand and China. Imports from China and Thailand went up by 60% and 8.7% respectively.
Canned Tuna
The international market for canned tuna followed the pattern observed during the first half of 2014. Demand was lukewarm in the traditional western markets despite the declining prices of tuna raw material. However, the demand pattern was positive in emerging markets.
Among the top five importing markets of the EU, the USA, Japan, Australia and Egypt, imports declined by 3.10% and 1% respectively in the EU and Japan during the first nine months of 2014 against the same period in 2013. USA and Australian imports were slightly higher by 4.7% and 5.5% respectively. In the Egyptian market, there was a 20% rise in imports during this period. Import demand was also strong in the Middle East, in countries such as,Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Libya , Kuwait, Jordan, as well as in West Africa.
It is also interesting to note the rise in imports of canned tuna in the new but small markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Overall import value was lower worldwide as a result of the declining price of tuna raw material.
Consumer demand for canned tuna did not improve much in the US market, which was reflected by consistently falling imports since 2011. In contrast, demand for higher value products, such as,pouched tuna, improved during the review period . Imports of semi-processed cooked loins, used mainly to produce various kinds of value added products domestically, have also increased, for which supplies increased significantly from China. 
The extra- EU trade for canned/processed tuna
There were mixed trends in the EU imports of processed tuna (HS 160414) during the first nine months of 2014. Under this category, canned tuna imports declined from third countries, but there was a marginal rise in cooked loin imports. However, intra-EU imports of higher value canned and pouched tuna produced in Spain, Italy, France and Portugal increased during January-September 2014, against the corresponding period in 2013.
Overall imports into the EU from third countries were 3% lower in quantity and 13% in value against the same period last year, although import prices of canned tuna were lower because falling raw material prices worldwide. The preferential tariffs on imports from the ACP countries did not stimulate imports either; supplies increased only from Mauritius (+8.3%) but declined from the number one source Ecuador (-2.1%) and also from Seychelles (-11.7%), Papua New Guinea( -9.6%), Ghana (-1.8%) and Cote d Ivoire (-41.2% ).
Among the ASEAN producers, imports increased by 16.3% from the Philippines, 6% from Indonesia and 11% from Viet Nam, but declined from Thailand by 2.1%, the second largest non-EU supplier in this market.
Among the individual EU markets, canned tuna imports were slightly higher in Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and also in the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovenia and Malta; but declined in France, the UK, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Sweden and Denmark.
Overall imports of cooked tuna loins for reprocessing were nearly 88 000 tonnes, 2% higher against the same period a year ago. Spain was the largest buyer.
Other Markets
The impact of the weak yen against US dollar was less pronounced on canned tuna imports into Japan, where the product is popular among younger Japanese. Imports were stable at 41 000 tonnes during January-September 2014, which is almost the same volume imported during the same period in 2013. Supply, however, declined slightly from Thailand but increased from Indonesia, the Philippines and China.
The other important markets, such as Australia, Egypt and Canada, also imported more during the review period compared with the same period in 2013. There were strong import growths in Brazil, Mexico and Morocco.
Despite lower imports by the USA and EU markets, exports of processed tuna (cooked loins and canned/pouched tuna) increased from the producers in Asia and Latin America during the period January-September 2014. Exports increased in quantity by 9% from Thailand and Ecuador, 2.5% from Spain and 13.3% from China compared with the same period in 2013. However, the declining tuna raw material price has taken a toll on the export value of canned tuna for all countries. Export quantity also declined from the Philippines and Indonesia.
Canned tuna exports also increased from the European producers/exporters Spain, Italy and Portugal, which are higher value products, but declined from France. Exports from Italy to some Middle Eastern markets increased during the reporting period.
Demand for sashimi tuna is expected to be good in the main market, Japan, throughout this winter season, except for the cheaper red meat quality bigeye tuna, while demand for the more expensive bluefin is likely to be low until the Spring festival season in April.
Global production of farmed tuna is forecast to reach 35 000 tonnes in 2014, which is about 500 tonnes more than 2013. This increase may lead to some price weakening in the bluefin tuna market in Japan. Prices of the red meat varieties,,bigeye and yellowfin tuna, might be affected by this trend.
The stable and low price of tuna material, meanwhile, is likely to stimulate better demand in the canned tuna market worldwide.

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