Market Updates for April 9, 2021
Dairy | Eggs
Large - Down
Medium - Down
Small - Down
Retail demand mixed. Supplies of extra large and large well balanced and held confidently. Market steady to full steady.
Dairy | Butter
Cream inventories are continuing to tighten as ice cream production starts to compete for raw material and hits it's production stride. Retail sales show signs of decline, but overall are still healthy. With restaurants reopening food service distributors are still coming back to the buying table, but orders are still below expectations.
Dairy | Cheese
The CME Block market responded to the governments release of another billion dollars in the USDA Box program. Speculators feel this will have an effect on the markets for the short term but will not be sustainable for the long term.
Meat | Pork
Slaughter is projected to be fractionally lower this week.
Bone in butt prices are steady to higher this week. Boneless butts prices continued to increase as demand and labor issues in the plants are driving the prices. Loins prices are up moderately.
Ribs traditionally rally in April and through the summer as increased demand for grilling reaches its peak. This year however, we are approaching this period with all-time highs already established for April on spareribs and St Louis ribs as well as 14-year highs for April on back ribs.
Belly prices continue to run but appear to be increasing in price at a slower pace. Breakfast sausage is competing with bacon and both items continue to push the other's price higher. Trimming prices reached record highs last week but are trending slightly lower this week.
Meat | Beef
Weather-related issues both with producers and consumers have the boxed beef market in an interesting position. Harvest was down 100K last week from the average weekly runs all due to weather-related issues. The excess market-ready cattle will need to be pushed to production over the next few weeks increasing supply during a time when we historically experience reduced demand before the spring grilling season. We have yet to see the market react due to short boxed beef, but it will come soon and probably be a good portion of March as prices are too high for this time of year and increased supply will push prices lower. Middle meats have performed well on retail ads, however, high prices will put pressure on ad placements at retail and foodservice will follow. Look for opportunities on middle meats over the next few weeks. Grinds took a big dive after Super Bowl but are now up again due to short supply caused by last week’s weather events. Expect to see some softness until later into March. End cuts should come off some over the next few weeks and stay lower through most of the spring. Expect lower levels as we move into March. Thin meats and briskets should see good demand and higher prices as we move into March. There are still many large customers shopping brisket packages for the spring business.
Seafood | Finfish
Per Undercurrent News: The North Pacific Fishery Management Council announced that it had increased the 2021 TAC for Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska to 17,321 MT, allowing for a small directed fishery this year. For the next two years, scientists have also advised acceptable biological catches for Pacific cod in the gulf of 23,627 t and 38,141 t in 2021 and 2022 respectively. This is worth noting as TAC levels can only be set equal to or below the levels of ABC's recommended by scientists. Note the Groundfish Forum this last fall also stated that the global catches would decline by 7.8% to 365,000t led by a decline in US and Canadian landings from 160,0000 to 119,000 t which based on voume alone have a bigger impact on the fishery. With that said , to date the cod catches have been limited in Alaska and costs have been rising. Increased COVID cases resulted in plant shut downs for 14 days which also affected the start of the pollock season then carried over to the cod fishery as well. Mandatory quarantine has really impacted the supply putting pressure on costs for the 1x frozen market. Expect prices to be elevated until the fall and new season supply. *
Russian cod is also bearing the weight of the reduction of cod out of Alaska. Currently the large 16-32 oz fillets have been short on the market and the next best option will be the 8/16 oz. Expect costs and supply for larger sizes to be an issue for the next few months For cod out of Canada the 6 oz. option will be short as the season wrapped up early with limited catches of this size. Costs are stable currently. * Per Undercurrent News: Based on the announcement a week ago on the Newfoundland fishery for cod. The Canadian fisheries minister announced that Canada and France had reached an agreement in principle in relation to the 2021 quota for the region off the southern coast of Newfoundland know as 3Ps The two countries will permit a TAC of 1346 MT , a 50 % reduction from 2020 , but not a total closure what was originally announced. This 50 % reduction of the TAC provides a 75% chance of some stock growth by 2023. The season normally opens on April 1st and runs through March 31st of the following year though fishing starts late May or early June and ends on Feb 28th to allow time for spawning.
Pricing has risen as raw material has become tight, causing production facilities to have to wait which has caused order delays. This in conjunction with added freight costs has increased costs overall. To further amplify this problem we have continued to see increased port congestion once orders arrive in the US causing an additional 2-6 week delay on getting product received. *
The same issue as presented for the Atlantic 2x cod has been mirrored in the P cod costs as well. The lack of raw material out of Alaska to Asia due to reduced quotas, increase COVID cases , barge fires etc. will continue to impact supply until the B season resumes this summer That and short supply of raw material in Asia currently for processing, delayed containers and increased cost of freight have driven this item up in cost. For now product is short at elevated costs for both 8/16 and 16/32. *
Since the onset of the A season for Pollock in January the market has been in flux. Coming off a deficit of supply in the fall B season many anticipated the A season to be able to aid in product. From the onset most processors were forced to shut down due to COVID for 14 days. Since the length of this season is relatively short the catch has been limited. Many are scrambling to fill orders as Lent and FS sales have caused an increased demand far and above what was anticipated due to closures. Until the B season resumes this summer, product will remain very short with the larger 4/6 oz product being under more duress. Prices will be elevated. *
We have seen delays on pollock being shipped as raw material on the larges sizes has become tight which has caused pricing to rise by 10%-15% since last year. Raw material will remain short through the summer. * The Russian fish industry is continuing its diversification of its supplies due to restrictions on exports of fish to China and limited sale opportunities in the domestic market. In regard of pollock, as of now pollock catch in Russia has already decreased by 26% compared to last year. According to predictions, this year exports of Russian pollock to the Chinese market will fall by 20-25% in volume and by 10-15% in value terms. Some believe China will be forced to lift its restrictions on the imports of fish to the local market soon since the suspension of supplies has already had a negative effect on its processing sector, and primarily companies of small and medium size. Most of these companies are currently experiencing a shortage of raw materials for their operations. In addition to Russia the list of major importers also includes the U.S. and Norway. The fish sector of the latter was also hit by the Chinese ban and the pandemic in 2020, which led to the reduction of exports by about 8%, with the biggest decline being observed in the case of premium salmon.
We have seen an increase in pricing and delay on orders as large quantities of haddock that have been detained in bonded warehouses. Now that the Dalian port is stating to recover slowly , the cold storage facilities are also gradually opening up . It's estimated that it will still take some time for the raw material of COD and Haddock to be picked up from storage for further processing on Asia, resulting in large scale varieties (8-10, 10-12, 12-16) being short. This has affected many different packers and their ability to ship product. Costs are firming.*
The quota for Lake Erie has been announced" Ann Arbor, MI—The binational Lake Erie Committee (LEC), composed of fishery managers from Michigan, New York, Ohio, Ontario and Pennsylvania—the five jurisdictions that manage the Lake Erie fishery—set a total allowable catch (TAC) for 2021 of 6.238 million pounds of yellow perch and 12.284 million walleye. Yellow perch are allocated in pounds and walleye are allocated by number of fish. These TACs represent a decrease for yellow perch from 7.805 million pounds of fish last year and an increase in walleye from 10.237 million fish. Specific allocations of both species are presented below by jurisdiction. TAC decisions are made by consensus of the LEC. These decisions are reflective of the status of Lake Erie’s fish populations and consider the goal of sustainable harvest each year. The allocations are determined by the LEC after extensive, lakewide biological assessments, analyses, discussions, and consultations with stakeholders. The individual state and provincial governments implement the TAC in their jurisdiction in accordance with their respective regulations and management objectives. In general terms the perch quota has decreased by 20 % over last year and the walleye quota has increased by another 20 % over last year. Perch availability is short and will remain short however we have been able to remain in stock of the Michigan sizes. Ohio sizes are extremely short with almost none being offered . Fishing for White fish will begin in June however we do not foresee issues on supply getting through to the new season. Blue gill out of China is currently the only option to domestic and Limson has supply on these as well . White perch is still very short and we are seeing limited quantities offered. As for the smelt items - we are back in stock on the dressed. We have some battered however the supply will continue to be short. Due to the small quantity of smelt available it has been difficult for the processors to get a time slot at the plants in order to batter the product causing a delay in getting battered smelt to us.*
The 20-40 g zander is very short on the market and costs have increased. Most of the volumes of Zander come out of Kazakhstan and Russia where the main sizes are 4 oz and up. Therefore the smaller 2-4 oz zander are very hard to find, To help preserve the resource they are also not allowed to catch large volumes of the smaller fish as it can deplete the stock. Costs on this size have risen as we work to find added resources. For the rest of the zander and euro lake perch supply is adequate for a moderate demand. Costs are stable *
The late 2020 / 2021 fall season of mahi got off to a very slow start. While most fishing began in October the landings were minimal and what was processed had gone mainly to the fresh market. Larger fish were harder to come by and complete orders have been harder to fill as landings out of both Peru and Ecuador have been slow with reduced catches and landings. Costs are elevated over 2019/20 and expect these levels to increase just to secure supply as the cost for the raw material has risen sharply. As the season wraps up in S America the next option is product out of Taiwan for 1x fz. product. AS the Taiwanese watch the markets out of S America we expect prices to be firm across the board. Limson has availability of all sizes in 4, 6 and 8 oz portions and 1-4 pieces. *
Vietnam – Prices have gone up and are currently firming.. Landings should start at full season levels in late March/Early April. Indonesia –Landings have started and, as with Vietnam, landings should get even better in April. SWORDFISH Asia – Being a bycatch of Tuna, Sword is the same story as Asian Tuna currently and in Ecuador – The boats are retooling from the Mahi season. The landings have not yet been determined. *
For 2020 the pangasius export value was quite conservative due to the impact of COVID-19. We expect 2021 to be a better year for the pangasius industry overall. Raw material pricing is expected to be higher in 2021 due to higher farming cost with the continuous feed price increases. Supply volume also dropped in early 2021 and is expected to last in the coming months as many farmers found it challenging to sustain the business with high farming costs and a low selling price. In addition major disruptions in pollock, cod and haddock processing from China has reduced double-frozen volume to the E.U. and the U.S. therefore reducing fish supply overall adding pressure on the cheaper fish option with swai . Pangasius and shrimp farmers in Vietnam are facing higher prices for their feed, with suppliers citing higher costs for imported raw material. Pangasius feed prices in the Mekong Delta are expected to hit their fifth increase in early April. Other announcements from various feed producers in March, seen by SeafoodSource, have further revealed the trend of higher prices. Most of the producers said the increase was unavoidable due to escalating prices of imported material for feed production, claiming supply chains for the material have been disrupted due to augmented control measures imposed to protect against spread of COVID-19. While the more expensive feed has put pressure on local farmers, they have been able to offset the higher cost of feed with their own price increases. Prices are rising as processors are encountering growing global demand for their products. Pangasius exports to many of Vietnam’s biggest markets, especially China and the United States, surged in the first half of March
The tilapia facilities have been gradually ramping up post Chinese New Year as workers return to the plants, which often is slow. Currently the plants are working on backlog orders to try and catch up. The raw material costs are expected to rise over the next few weeks as a result of erratic supply and cold weather impacting other parts of China. This results in people from nearby regions to go to Hainan to try to secure raw material from there as that region is warmer. Container shortages remain, but that is gradually getting better. Freight rates are expected to stay high compared to pre-pandemic averages as shipping line delays and delays/backlogs at ports (Asia, US, Europe) continue to be an issue. The shipping line delays and port backlogs are expected to continue to gradually improve as virus cases reduce, but we do not expect shipping lines to reduce freight rates very quickly. For now our costs are stable on current supply. *
Seafood | Shrimp
Production out of Indonesia has been slow and steady without any major shut downs. The packers are backed up with excessive orders(for over 6 months in most cases) and most buyers have experienced extensive shipment delays causing current shrimp shortages in the US. Indonesia will continue to struggle through late 2020 when their season starts in Dec. However, they are expected to continue shipping at a steady pace. Vietnam has been able to help take the pressure off some but is also starting to see raw material shortages on certain sizes.
The situation is no better in the U.S. market for shrimp, as many exporters from India said their shipping schedules have been affected by tepid demand caused by cold weather conditions. The changes in shipping schedules have caused cargoes to take longer to arrive to their destinations, prompting foreign buyers to delay payments. India's seafood processors may not be able to fulfill their production targets due to raw material shortages resulting from a decline in fishing and yields. India exported nearly 1.29 million metric tons (MT) of seafood, with a value of USD 6.4 billion (EUR 5.4 billion), during the 2019-2020 fiscal year. However, MPEDA has not set any business targets in the last two years. Low shrimp prices between 2017 and 2019, and a decline in exports to the E.U. in 2018 and 2019 have hampered the seafood sector's growth. The decline was clear last year as India shipped 595,169 MT of seafood products between April and October, down 24 percent year-on-year. The associated value dropped by 16 percent to USD 3.28 billion (EUR 2.76 billion). Exporters are hoping demand from China will recover after the country's long Lunar New Year holiday. Additionally, a jump in vannamei shrimp prices by around 10 to 15 percent due to a global shortages may encourage farming to expand. Prices in India increased this week for some counts. Andhra Pradesh is already stocking widely, and stocking is also expected to pick up in Gujarat as the problem of acquiring quality PL’s is being resolved. In Ecuador, HOSO prices continue to show some upticks for larger sizes of shrimp, and farmers are encouraged to stock more due to these improvements. Meanwhile in Indonesia, prices showed no movement, and availability of raw material is expected to become more stable as the weather conditions improve.* Prices for Pacific white shrimp in Vietnam also rise steadily after the Tet holidays .For Vietnam’s shrimp farmers, feed prices for shrimp have gone up by between VND 1,200 and VND 1,900 (USD 0.052 and USD 0.082, EUR 0.044 and EUR 0.069) per kilogram, up by between 1.69 percent and 5.03 percent over last year.Similar to Vietnam’s pangasius feed suppliers, Vietnam’s shrimp feed producers have been forced to compensate for the higher costs of imported production materials caused by disrupted global supply chains. Rising shipping rates caused by a worldwide shortage of shipping containers and vessels also worsened the situation, the Ca Mau newspaper reported.*
Prices have firmed due to limited supply with in the market.
Gulf HDLS Brown and White: We are seeing the Texas boats cycling back from their New Year's trip, reporting 3-4bx/night of brown tails, predominantly 16/20-31/35ct. Ok for this time of the year but not great given fuel prices they are escalating rapidly. Boat pricing is firm and relatively steady. As boats come in now most will tie up for spring maintenance. Larger white production for hdls is also winding down. We expect it will be pretty quiet on hdls production for April/May. When large white shrimp production starts in June things can escalate quickly.*
Peeled: There is Finally a decent packout of small white peeled at Gulf Crown on 70/90 and smaller. For right now these packouts will be hit and miss. . As spring weather makes it's way to the gulf we should see more small boats moving around.*
Rock-No production, no boats targeting, no existing inventory. We may see a couple of small pack outs from the incidental catch in the spring, but the real season starts in July. Last year was poor for rock; hopefully this year will be the opposite. We encourage the use of 70/90 PINK P&D 10/5 Key Treasure as a good alternative. Very good eating, cheaper, more consistent supply. Key West Pink HDLS: production just ok, and prices sky-high: (.75-1.50 over gulf browns).*
Seafood | Lobster
Per Seafood News: NOAA announced its proposed modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan on December 30.NOAA said it is looking to “further reduce the impacts of entanglement in fishing gear on right whales in U.S. waters.” The modifications are focused on the Northeast Jonah crab and lobster trap/pot fisheries, which are responsible for roughly 93 percent of the buoy lines fished in areas where right whales appear. According to NOAA, the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team will be asked to recommend risk reduction measures for other Atlantic trap/pot and gillnet fisheries in 2021.
Due to the late start of the season and poor weather, the catch from the Nova Scotia season was limited. Fishing has wrapped up and most processors are limiting production until the spring season in May. Demand for lobsters has increased with restaurant openings and the market is extremely tight and expected to remain firm through the spring. There is expected to be a limited supply on all sizes of tails and meat going forward, especially the CK Broken and CKL.
The market for prime size tails continues to exhibit some strength as of late. Market values at the season open fell to multi-year lows; reaching a point that seems to have created demand in the pandemic environment. Since then, the addition of tropical activity in some producing countries, and residual damage, have yielded a firmer market. As of today Limson has supply on all sizes as supply dwindles and costs continue to rise
Seafood | Crab
The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game announced the 2020/2021 crab quotas . Mostly the results confirmed industry expectations, although snow crab increases were lower than hoped.For red king crab, the precarious nature of the stock has led to a cut of 1.15 million lbs, which is 30% below the 3.8 million pounds quota set in 2019.The stock has been on a long term decline, and earlier management strategies would have completely closed the fishery. However, in recent years ADF&G has revised some of the thresholds, so that a weak recruitment leads to lower harvest levels, but not a shut down of the entire fishery.With conservative management, the stock is neither overfished nor subject to overfishing. The allowable biological catch has declined from 6 million lbs in 2019 to 3.54 million lbs in 2020, with the TAC set well below this level at 2.648 million lbs.Russian catches of red king crab are stable, and the loss of 1.15 million pounds in Alaska quota should continue the trend of high king crab demand and pricing.For snow crab, the 2019 Alaska harvest was 34 million lbs., with a biomass projected at 368 million lbs. Snow crab recruitment is very strong, and the projection biomass for 2020 was to grow to 610.2 million lbs, a 66% increase.However, due to the pandemic no crab trawl surveys were conducted this summer, so the TAC was set based on a continuation of trends identified in 2019. For this reason, ADF&G was more conservative increasing the TAC than the projected biomass might call for, with a 32% increase to 45 million lbs. in 2020.There will also be a small Bairdi or tanner crab fishery this year west of longitude 166 of 2.348 million lbs. Again, there was no survey, but there has been considerable revisions to the Bairdi crab models in the last few years, and the current ABC matches that of 2017-18, when the fishery was last opened.The snow crab announcement is generally looked upon as an important market indicator for the coming year.This year, snow crab has been one of the top selling seafood products, so much so that unlike many fisheries which have seen lower values in the pandemic due to the cutback in foodservice demand, snow crab is currently oversold, and back up to record price levels.
The 2021 Canadian snow crab season has begun in zone 23/24 (Nova Scotia) and the first loads are starting to arrive in Boston. This is at least 2 weeks earlier than normal. We expect most other fishing areas in Canada to follow the same pattern and open earlier than usual. The stakeholders are all pushing to get the snow crab fisheries opened as early as possible this year so they can get the quota out of the water as quickly as possible and avoid any potential entanglement issues with the endangered Atlantic right whales. We expect to see peak Canadian production by late April. As of right now, there is not enough snow crab being produced to satisfy the current robust demand. As a result, we are only able to offer LTL shipments to try to fill as many supply gaps as we can. As production ramps up and more zones come on line, we will be able to offer full truckload quantities again. It should be noted that we expect the size distribution this year will be smaller than in the past. These quota changes certainly do not help as the Gulf typically produces more of the large sizes and Newfoundland typically produces less large crab, but there are also indications that the snow crab in both Newfoundland and the Gulf are also running smaller than usual this year. Snow crab demand has been surprisingly strong in the past year, despite the lack of demand from casinos, cruise lines and other buffet restaurants, who have mostly been shuttered. As things start to open up again and people start going out to eat in restaurants again, we expect that demand will remain strong. We will definitely not see the low prices that we saw during the season last year that allowed retail to promote it so heavily. Higher prices will lead to lower demand from retail, but it seems that foodservice is poised to pick up the slack. Facing a lower quota, New Brunswick's crab fishers have begun their season. At the wharf in Shippagan, boats prepared to take to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence late Friday despite frigid temperatures and the presence of ice in some places. The season officially began at midnight. The Acadian Peninsula received help from icebreakers from the Canadian Coast Guard and contracted boats to allow access to the waters before endangered North Atlantic right whales arrive. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has reduced the catch quota. The department estimates it miscalculated the amount available by 10 to 30 per cent over the past two years. In the zone that includes the Acadian Peninsula, the limit was lowered by about 26 per cent to 21,128 tonnes. Fishers have faced challenges in reaching their quotas in recent years. The New Brunswick Crab Processors Association said the industry left about 11 per cent of its quota in the water in 2020, or between $40 million and $50 million worth of product. When the whales start to migrate into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in May, many lucrative snow crab fishing grounds are forced to close. Fishing gear entanglements and ship strikes are the main cause of death for the species. The risk of whale encounters often results in an early end to the season. Note Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced it will allow snow crab harvesters of the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador to catch a combined 38,186 MT during the upcoming season a 29% increase from last year.
Much of the large Barent's Sea Red King Crab was committed early last summer to the alternative retailers mainly big box stores, which have enabled them to sell to customers cheaper than current UB. Crab was also committed to in supermarkets and other alternative retailers and there is little left for the spot market. US crab sales in 2021 continues on a year over year growth of over 60% At the same time about 70 % of the Alaskan harvest has taken place with difficulty reported in delivering the product to the US market due to COVID 19 Issues along with bad weather and the necessity to use barges to ship to market. Some customers have noted that the 2021 product is taking 3/4 week longer to get tp market. For now product remains very short and costs are firm
Seafood | Scallops
For 2021 the quota has been reduced from 52 million lbs down to 40 million pounds and another 20 % reduction YOY. As landings fall off we expect to see more imports this season out of the preferred areas of Peru and Japan while China exports wane in comparison due to the current tariffs. Sizes for the 2020 season were heavier on the smaller 30-40 and 40-50 ct sizes. For the 2021 season we expect fewer of the larger sizes in the U10 's and 10-20 ct ranges. . Large scallops will be short at increased costs and there is expected abundance of smaller sizes. As the vaccines become more available , more restaurants open with added capacity we expect the 2021 season demand for scallops to be strong overall *
China production plants are still running at reduced volume (70%) as there is still a lack of demand around the world because of the Covid-19 impact.
Seafood | Salmon
The US market will be opening up over the next few months, and although not firing on all cylinders we expect a jump in the food service sector for salmon. Currently the pipeline of available product is pretty dry. - slim inventories in general have been the norm in order to preserve cash. As inventory starts to move again there will be a wave of orders, although when and how big this will be is hard to tell. As for Europe which is the largest customer for Norwegian Salmon they will be months behind US with their reopening so this can be beneficial for us stateside. We expect the fall to be tighter on supply than currently estimated with increased prices compared to what we are used to during that time of the year. With the food service industry picking back up, we are not sure if we will see retail dropping off or holding but the expectation is it will continue to hold it's own. Looking at volume harvested in Norway Q1 2021 it is up quite a bit from Q1 2020 with prices now exceeding last year prices (shut down starting). We believe prices will come down briefly after Easter in Norway , but nowhere close to the levels last year in the heat of the pandemic. Due to numerous Norwegian holidays in the month of May , there is less harvesting days which can keep prices elevated. Current forward pricing is also expected to remain strong for Q2, with Q3 finally showing a slight concession, although it can all change with Europe picking up speed again from late summer. The USD is also considerable weaker compared to the NOK currently which will result in increased costs overall.
Per Undercurrent News: Die offs related to warmer than usual ocean temperature quickly escalated over the weekend in Chilean salmon farming fjords. Salmones Camanchaca provided an update to losses at three sites to be 1.3 million fish . The toxic algae bloom has hit other farms as well. Warmer than usual sea temperatures have caused die offs in nearby farming sites either by other types of algal blooms or via low oxygen levels . The industry faces a stressful April , a period of early fall in the southern hemisphere , as the warmer weather is set to continue. The impact of these dies offs is not expected to hit the market until the end of 2021. For now Limson has supply on both the 6 and 8 oz offerings . Expect some uptick in cost as we enter the summer season for N America.