Tilapia prices in for a hike : January 23, 2013
Eva Tallaksen : Undercurrentnews
Tilapia prices are set for an increase in the coming weeks, predict two industry players.
Raw material prices in China are up for the third week in a row, and have now reached CNY 9 ($1.45) per kilo, up from CNY 8.80 at the start of the year, said Siam Canadian Group.
The Bangkok, Thailand-based supplier expects this will further increase in the coming weeks, to reach CNY 9.20 to CNY 9.60 per kilo after the Chinese new year (Feb. 8).
A US importer has also been telling Undercurrent News that he is observing an increase in tilapia prices. Wholesale prices at warehouses in New Jersey have reached $2.30, this source said on Jan. 17, up from $2.15-$2.20 a few weeks previously.
“We think this market is going to go up, substantially, from here,” he said. “The thing that is weighing down on this is that you’ve got low prices on catfish and swai, which we think will drag that price increase down a little bit because it’s a competitive fish.”
Chinese news websites are reporting higher mortality among tilapia due to cold weather in Guangxi province, said Seafood.com.
Tilapia supply typically shrinks in wintertime, as farmers reduce the number of fingerlings out of fear that extreme cold could kill the fish, Landy Chow, from Siam Canadian’s China office told Undercurrent last month.
Tilapia survive above temperatures of 12 degrees Celcius, but will not survive temperatures below 9 degrees Celcius beyond three consecutive days, Chow had said.
At the time Chow predicted supply to be normal until the end of January. Supply from the Guandong area should be much lower, while supply from Hainan, a tropical island, should be normal, he had said.
Supply from China should then “be significantly less during February to March”, but this will also be offset by lower demand, which is only due to pick up around April, he said. In his view, that meant export prices in US dollars will go up after the Chinese new year, but most likely only moderately.