Norwegian Seafood Exports Maintained High Performance in October

Frozen Cod
Norwegian seafood had a record-breaking month in October 2021 as exports reached USD 1.4 billion despite unfavorable currency exchange rate developments and continued closing of societies globally due to COVID. The 15% export increase in October compared to 2020 was carried mainly by a 22% increase in salmon and a 95% increase in herring. The sector is set for a great end to the year as November and December normally are part of the high season for Norwegian seafood exports.

Norway's seafood sector

The Norwegian seafood sector is one of Norway’s most important sectors which in 2020 exported USD 9.3 billion worth of seafood. The aquaculture sector is well-developed in Norway and out of the total value of seafood export in 2020 71% came from farmed stocks, primarily salmon. Salmon accounted for 67% of the value of all seafood exports in 2020, followed by cod (9%) and mackerel (4%)

Norwegian seafood enjoyed their best month of seafood exports ever in October 2021 when the value of exports increased 15% percent compared to October 2020 and reached USD 1.4 billion. The record sales happened despite several market destinations not yet fully operational after COVID and currency developments strengthening the Norwegian Kroner against currencies of key markets. Between 30 October 2020 and 26 October 2021, the Norwegian kroner increased around 11% against Polish złoty, Danish Kroner and the Euro.

October export trends

The increase in value of Norwegian seafood exports in October are driven primarily by salmon and herring exports, which accounted for 66% and 6% of export value respectively. The value of salmon exports in Oct 2021 have increased from USD 684 million to USD 832 million, equivalent to a 22% percent increase compared to Oct 2020.

In terms of volume, the exports increased and reached 128,498 MT in Oct 2021, equivalent to an 8% increase from 119,134 MT in Oct. 2020.

The value per MT of Norwegian salmon has increased 13% from USD 5,745 in 2020 to USD 6,275 in 2021.The export of Norwegian salmon is mainly destined to Poland, France, Denmark and USA which combined constitute 37% of the total value of salmon exported from Norway between Jan-Oct 2021.

Data source: Norwegian Seafood Council

For herring, the export value in Oct 2021 was a decade-high of USD 81 million, representing a 95% increase from the USD 42 million exports of Oct 2020. In terms of herring export volume, the Oct 2021 export volume of 52,109 MT was up by 70% compared to October 2020’s 30,673 MT. The value per MT of herring has increased 15% in Oct. 2020 from USD 1360 to 1561 in Oct 2021. Part of the explanation for greater exports of herring in Oct 2021 is that the fall season started earlier in 2021 and that quotas for spring-spawning herring have been raised.

The main markets in 2021 have been Poland and Germany for frozen filets, whereas the main markets for frozen whole herring are Egypt and Nigeria. The two African countries have dramatically increased their import of Norwegian herring, with Egypt increasing their import 60% from USD 26 Million in Jan-Oct 2020 to USD 41 Million during the same period of 2021. Nigeria increased their import to a staggering 328% from USD 4.6 Million to USD 20 Million.

Data source: Norwegian Seafood Council

Cod & Trout
Contrary to October success stories of salmon and herring are cod and trout. Frozen cod export volumes in Oct 2021 fell by 12% to 4.600 MT, whereas the value fell to USD 25 million, a 6% decrease compared to Oct 2020. On the other hand, fresh cod experienced a value increase of 6% to hit USD 10 million in Oct 2021 despite export volume falling 3% to 1.826 MT. As for trout, there was a fall of 11% in export volume to 6.210 MT in Oct 2021 compared to Oct 2020. Yet, the concerns of falling export volumes are mitigated by trout’s export value increasing by 8% to USD 47 million.

Data source: Norwegian Seafood Council

Promising end of year ahead

While the Norwegian seafood sector surely has reason to celebrate the export results of October 2021, there may just be more good news awaiting in November and December. In the last two months of 2019, before the outbreak of COVID, the export of seafood reached USD 1.2 billion in November and USD 1.1 billion in December. In 2020, the figures fell to USD 1 billion in November and USD 9.5 billion in December, representing decreases of 19% and 14% respectively. The value of exports in November and December made up 17.5% of total export in 2020 so if the strong pace of exports experienced in October can be maintained, there may be reason for further celebration in the Norwegian seafood industry. The latest and yet unpublished statistics show that by 26 November, Norwegian seafood exceeded the previous annual export record of USD 12.2 billion from 2019. The expectation is that exports will far exceed USD 12.9 billion by the end of 2021.

Currency rates used:
1 USD = 8.54 for 2021, 9.40 for 2020 and 8.80 for 2019.


Norwegian Seafood Council: Key Figures

Norges Bank: Exchange Rates

Norwegian Seafood Council: October is a new strong month for Norwegian seafood exports

Norwegian Seafood Council: A Historical Record for Norwegian Seafood Export Set Today

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