Mackerel Market Report - February 2009

Global mackerel markets appear to have experienced mixed fortunes during the past year, affected by fluctuating currencies, drops in landing quota reflected in unit value, and a major market (Russia) imposing a temporary ban on imports.

Italian mackerel imports reduced by -10% between Jan-Sept 2007 and 2008 to 8504 tonnes and the overall value fell by -5% to
12.1 million.

The most imported product was fresh mackerel, which accounted for 54% of all imports in 2007 and 60% in 2008. The total volume of fresh imports grew marginally by 0.5% to 5127 tonnes, but saw a +2% increase in the value, suggesting strong prices.

In 2007, 68% of imported fresh mackerel originated from Spain, but a -5% reduction in volume in 2008 to 3319 tonnes, saw it account for just 65% of the total import during that year.

Frozen mackerel was the second most important Italian mackerel product during both periods, although there was a -23% reduction in the volume to 3123 tonnes in 2008. There was also a reduction in the value of these imports, which were down -19% to
2.6 million.

Spain provided 68% of frozen imports in 2008 at 1909 tonnes, which was a -1% reduction on the volume in 2007. However the value of these imports increased +4% to
1.4 million.

Mackerel fillets accounted for just 2% and 3% of Italian imports in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The volume increased by 27 tonnes (+12%) to 254 tonnes, while the value reduced -18% to
0.9 million in 2008. This was driven by a reduction of 63 tonnes from Spain, which in 2007 had an average unit value of 5.13/kg, reducing to 3.68/kg in 2008 (-28%).

The volume of mackerel exported by Norway fluctuated significantly between 2005 and 2007. 141000 tonnes was exported in 2006, which was a -24% reduction on 2005, but there was a surge in exports in 2007, increasing +199% to 339000 tonnes. All countries except Poland imported higher volumes in 2007.

Japan was the key market in all three years. In 2005 Japan received 48% of exports at 78000 tonnes, but this shrank to 45000 tonnes in 2006, before increasing +166% to 120000 tonnes in 2007. Although not shown in the table, information from the Norwegian Seafood Export Council shows that the overall value of mackerel was considerably higher during 2008 than in 2007, as a result of fluctuating exchange rates.

Irish Mackerel exports grew by 35% to 21538 tonnes between January-September 2007 and 2008.

In 2007 the main importer was Denmark, which received 4130 tonnes of mackerel products but in 2008, this changed to the Russian Federation, which took 7374 tonnes.

The main export product is frozen mackerel, which accounted for 78% and 76% of the total in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The volume increased by +32% to 16402 tonnes in 2008 with a massive +274% increase in exports to the Russia Federation, making up for -50% reduction in exports to Denmark and a -46% reduction to France. Exports to Nigeria increased by +519% from 121 tonnes to 746 tonnes.

Exports of frozen fillets grew by +117% to 3533 tonnes in 2008, with new market Togo receiving 63%.

In the fresh market, exports fell -12% to 1602 tonnes in 2008, with the UK receiving the bulk of product in both periods although -26% less in 2008 at only 1238 tonnes. An increase of +286% in exports to France helped stop a larger decline in the total volume exported.

German imports of mackerel grew by 13% to 6861 tonnes between January and September 2007 and 2008. The value grew by +12% to
11.8 million, suggesting that overall average unit values for the whole sector were roughly static, although there were fluctuations for individual products.

The most imported product was whole frozen mackerel which accounted for 71% and 65% of all mackerel imports in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The volume increased by +5% to 4482 tonnes in 2008 despite a -47% reduction in imports from the Netherlands to 854 tonnes.

Despite the growth in volume, market value fell -2% to
6 million in 2008, showing a fall in unit values. The average unit value in 2008 was 1.33/kg, which is 10 cents down on the 2007 average unit value.

Frozen fillets were the second most imported mackerel product and the volume expanded by +31% to 1923 tonnes in 2008. However the average unit value ignored price elasticity trends and increased +1% to
2.46/kg, resulting in the overall value increasing by +32% to 4.7million. The market share for frozen fillets expanded by +4%, accounting for 28% of all mackerel imports.

Whole fresh mackerel accounted for 5% and 7% of all imports in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The total volume of this product expanded +44% to 455 tonnes, with the value increasing +23% to
11.1 million.

The volume of French mackerel imports fell -10% to 14596 tonnes in the period January - October 2008 compared with the same period during the previous year. However the average value of the combined product types also fell, reducing the total value of imports by -21% to
17.2 million.

Frozen whole mackerel is the largest segment, increasing its share to 70% in 2008. However, the volume imported fell -5% to 10194 tonnes.

In both periods France imported most from UK, although the volume fell by -27% to 3070 tonnes in 2008 and the value fell by
2.5m to 4.5m in 2008. There was a similar reduction (-36%) in imports from Ireland, which supplied 2098 tonnes in that year.

The second largest segment is fresh whole mackerel, which accounted for 29% of total imports in 2008, and at 4167 tonnes was a -20% reduction on the 2007 import.

Fresh imports from Spain increased by +32% to 2465 tonnes, but those from Ireland and the UK decreased by -53% and -67% respectively. The average unit value of the UK import was the highest of all countries in both years for this product, increasing fractionally to
1.18 in 2008.

Frozen fillets of mackerel were the least significant import in both periods. The value of this segment fell -20% to
718000 with an average unit value of 3.06/kg in 2008.