Fishmeal prices weaken despite firm demand

With Peru close to reaching its 2 million metric ton anchovy quota, Peruvian fishmeal prices have fallen despite a rise in demand driven by China.

Demand has been strong due to the fact that prices have been very attractive for the Chilean and Chinese markets, Peruvian sources told Undercurrent.

China will start its aquaculture season soon and customers should finish filing their orders before Chinese New Year to start preparing their meals, sources also said.

Sources said that strong demand has supported global fishmeal prices earlier last year as a large percentage of the Peruvian quota for the second season of 2016 had already been sold. Peru is the world’s largest producer of fishmeal.

The prices of fishmeal have seen a slight downward correction, due to a more positive expectation of catching the quota in Peru, one source noted.

Fishmeal is currently priced at $1,500-1,550 per metric ton, while fish oil is currently at $1,700-1,800/t, depending on the quality, according to several producers.

This compares with $1,570-$1,650/t for fishmeal and $1,900-$1,950/t for fish oil last November.

“Prices are currently closer to $1,500/t for superprime fishmeal and $1,700/t for fish oil. This price level is too low for Chilean [fishmeal] producers to sell,” a source told Undercurrent. “Most of the 2m-metric-ton quota in Peru has already been sold, perhaps just above 200,000t still needs to be sold.”

Peruvian catches

The Peruvian ministry of production has set a total allowable catch (TAC) for the first season in the south of the country of 515,000t, up 35% compared with last year.

The first season will start on Jan.17 and end when the quota has been reached or by June at the latest.

The second season of 2016 in Peru is still underway and expected to finish between the middle and end of this month.

At the start of this week, vessels had caught 80% of the 2m quota and companies might reach the total TAC against previous expectations, according to a Peruvian source. On Jan. 11, 82.3% of the 2m quota had been reached, another source added.

It is likely that the total quota will be reached by the end of the season, which could be adjusted by the ministry depending on the catch level, one of the sources added.

This is relatively unexpected. Due to the large amount of juveniles most harvesters didn’t foresee the full quota being fished.

Last week, the Peruvian ministry of production set the TAC for mackerel in 2017 at 100,000t.

By undercurrent news

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