MarketPULSE February/March 2022

Table of contents

Introduction

Progressing through the new year, the majority of the meat industry is predicted to continue performing at similar levels as the end of 2021. Areas within the meat industry that have been predominately affected is pork and poultry. Pork pricing has seen an overall increase of pricing due to current market conditions and livestock issues. Due to high demand, bird producers are reducing the supply of boned birds available. Seafood prices are rapidly increasing due to minimal supply of products and external factors such as shipping costs and raw material price. The seafood industry is expected to see improvements later in the year. The wheat industry within Australian has continued to improve, with the cooler weather adding extra production in the majority of areas. These weather changes have also affected milk production globally. The overall trend in the dairy market has seen an increase in production for the majority of countries. Australia however, has seen a slight lowering of production levels.

Meat

Market developments according to MLA, Finco and Australian Pork

Beef

Indicators show that most categories are performing at similar levels as the end of 2021. 

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator hit a new peak in mid-January at 1,187c/kg, resulting from the summer rainfall and high national demand. 

Although January cattle slaughter numbers were below 2020 and 2021 levels so far this year, circumstances are improving

Lamb

Indicators show that most categories are performing at similar levels as the end of 2021. 

Trading lamb pricing is staying consistent. However, January national slaughter was down 29% from the same time last year. This is a direct result of isolation requirements.

Pork

Current market conditions and livestock issues continue to be the driving factor for pork pricing. Pork producers have also been heavily impacted by isolation requirements at production level.

Poultry

Bird producers are finding that there is still high demand through the supermarkets and they are filling this demand by reducing the amount of boned birds available. This is leading to a decrease in supply. This trend is going to continue into the foreseeable future.

Feb Mar Newsletter Web Images MEAT

Seafood

All information provided is correct at time of submission and is subject to change due to unpredictable circumstances. Adverse weather conditions, currency fluctuations and other market influences, which are difficult to predict accurately, can impact pricing and supply on very short notice.

Salmon

The demand for salmon remains strong with harvest volumes and increased demand prices remaining at record highs. 

High prices have created a challenging buying period for the start of the new year, no reductions in costs are predicted until the end of the year. 

COVID-19 continues to impact production capacity and supply of packaging material, all causing delays in production. On top of the increased production delays and increased costs, shipping continues to be challenging. 

Limited inventory and bank on prices should start to see improvements in the second half of 2022.

Barramundi

Imported

Raw material supplies are not meeting demand therefore, prices remain at high levels. 

The winter was not as cold as predicted, which has helped stabilise prices, albeit at high levels. 

There are continued problems securing shipping from Taiwan to Australia, causing high freight costs and ongoing delays. It is expected that there will be some improvements in raw material price relief mid-year.

Basa

Basa prices sharply increased towards the end of 2021 and have continued to grow into the new year. From September 2021 to February 2022, prices have increased by 40%.

The main cause has been a shortage of raw material, increased processing, and higher shipping freight costs. There are no immediate signs of the situation improving, with prices expected to remain high.

Flathead

South American Flathead

The current season for Flathead will end in March, with the new season occurring around September/October.

 Significant pressure from shipping is forcing an escalation of freight charges. The exchange rate remains poor against the US dollar, which will be reflected in a higher price in the market for South American Flathead. 

COVID-19 continues to affect all aspects of catching, packing, international transportation and internal charges throughout Australia. 

Scallops

Peru

Production has almost completely stopped with scallops left in the water. What is being taken out is sold roe-less to the USA. 

There continues to be unfilled orders awaiting stock from limited harvesting expected in the next few months. All old stockholders of Peruvian scallops in New Zealand and Australia have increased their prices. 

Recent attempts to place orders have seen negative results.

Japan

Prices of holding stocks have increased shell stock now shipping to China, at vastly increased prices. The last quotes from Japan have been very high. 

The labour costs in China are not conducive to producing roe-on scallops for the Australian market unless they are ‘Sashimi Grade’ roe-less, which now sell at very high prices.

China

Prices of roe-on soaked scallops have increased, potentially due to a considerable increase in freight costs. It is anticipated that the prices will rise further alongside a shortage of supply, especially for roe-on. 

Shell stock coming from Japan is being held up in various ports due to COVID -19 testing. The Port of Dalian, where there are a lot of scallop processors, has effectively closed with no shipping companies allowing their vessels to dock there.

Canadian - frozen at sea

The Canadian quota is down about 12%, from 5,165 tonnes to 4,505 tonnes. However, there is a possibility that this quota could be increased depending on how catching and fishing progresses. 

In addition, it is anticipated that US supply will be down to 34 million lb in 2022 vs 39 million in 2021. Along with this, it is expected that the Japanese scallop supply should be down overall by about 13%. 

As a result, the supply of scallops is expected to be tighter in 2022 than they were in 2021. There have been record-high prices in most markets for sea scallops and especially for large sizes in the US. 

Demand currently remains quite firm, outstripping the availability and keeping prices high. As a result, significant price increases are not expected this year. However, prices are expected to remain at current high levels and stay firm for majority of the year.

Local - Queensland

Queensland scallop fisheries commenced the season in January. 

The area that was open has not yielded any volume scallop. Any remaining 2021 stock is limited and prices are at record levels. There may not be any good landings of Queensland scallops for the remainder of 2022. 

The Australian market may be able to substitute with a half shell Tasmanian scallop.

Feb Mar Newsletter Web Images SEAFOOD 3

Canadian Lobster

Fishing for the winter season is winding down due to challenging weather and relatively good catches for the year. 

The desire to continue fishing through the winter months is less than usual. As a result, the supply is quickly diminishing while demand remains strong. This may indicate that prices could rise in February as they did in 2021. 

The shore price in Nova Scotia’s fishing area LFA 35, which opened in mid-October, increased by $2/lb up to December and has remained steady since then. 

The live market has slowed down, though prices remain steady. The supply of tails and meat are considered limited, but there has been some discounting where inventories exist. 

The supply of larger tails is quite constrained and prices range from steady to high. As a result, meat offerings are scattered

Florida Lobster

The lack of production workers available has continued to limit any opportunities to produce whole cooked for Australia this season. Record prices in USA domestic market for tails make this and whole raw for China the easiest and least labour-intensive products. 

Whilst most of the catch after Christmas is usually directed to Chinese Live markets, the lack and inconsistency of airspace for direct shipment has proven extremely difficult for exporters in this season. This has resulted in lacklustre beach pricing and lower interest from fishermen.

Brazil Lobster

The new season for Brazil will begin a month earlier than previous years. All stocks have been shipped, with minor quantities of tails and cooks arriving in Australia within early 2022. 

Tail prices for Brazil lobster sizes 5oz and larger remain at all-time records and are set to continue until the season starts.

Western Australia Lobster

Domestic demand for Western Australian Lobster remain relatively strong, with prices strong for all sizes. 

Many fishermen have reportedly decided to hold back their quota for catching in 2022 in the hopes of a better international market and returned access to China. 

Higher tail prices in the USA have maintained and continue to underwrite minimum beach pricing and cooked offer levels. 

With limited whole frozen inventory, all eyes are now focussed on the Abrolhos catches on the weeks leading up to Easter. Good quantities of whole frozen red a and b size production are expected during this period. 

Prawns

Imported

Thailand whole cooked

Raw material prices for whole cooked Vannamei prawns from Thailand have continued to increase and are now at a price point that is not workable for the Australian market. Prices have increased 50%-60% from September 2021 to February 2022. 

Lower prices are not expected until new season volumes become available mid-year.

Raw prawn cutlets/meat

February to April is off-season for harvesting for all major Asian farmed Vannamei producing countries. As a result, prices are traditionally higher than other months. 

Provided there are no adverse weather issues, prawn farmers will start re-seeding the ponds with baby prawns. If farming conditions remain favourable, the 1st harvest for 2022 will be from mid-may, and the price could be softer following the harvest. 

There is substantial demand for Easter and Golden Week in Japan. The continued strong demand combined with limited global production prices is expected to remain high.

Local

East Coast and Torres Straight Tigers and Kings

East Coast Tiger Prawn will commence fishing in March 2022 with catch efforts north of the 22nd-degree line that is just south of Mackay. 

The prices for East Coast Kings new season catches have been low, with smaller grades 20/30 to 10/15 being the main grades. Prices have come back from Christmas levels, with hopes that larger grades are landed mid-year

Southern King Prawns

There is little to no inventory remaining from the December fishing efforts in Spencer gulf. The 2022 fishing season will start in March 2022.

Banana Prawns

The Gulf of Carpentaria Banana Prawn fishing season will not start until April 2022.

Gulf Tigers

The 2021 season is closed, with catches below 50% of the 2020 season. As a result, there is little or no inventory, and prices are at record-high levels. The new season will commence in August 2022.

Bugs

Local Queensland

Moreton Bay Bug Catches are low, with prices coming back from Christmas levels. However, prices remain at relatively high levels.

New Zealand fish supply

Hoki

Hoki season has ended in New Zealand with good quality fish stocks from the West Coast fishing ground secured via the new quota shelving, which took place this season. Limited catches are expected until the season re-opens in May.

Smooth Dory

The season is now closed, with good quality fish coming through. The total allowable catch has been set precautionarily low and yields have been stable for a long time.

New Zealand mussels

Global demand has strengthened following COVID-19 recovery. This has pushed prices higher than the 2020-21 season. This trend is expected to continue as more countries open up

New Zealand oysters

It is currently the offseason with limited volume and smaller sizes available. There will be very limited large to super jumbo sizes over the next 3-4 months, with 95% of sizes in the standard and medium range. The next time we expect to see larger oysters will be in April/early May, subject to weather.

Harvest volumes are lower over this period due to limited labour available on the farms, and the recent tsunami damage to farms in the North Island will also likely impact supply. 

Shipping availability continues to be an issue, and this is not expected to change over 2022, early forecasts for financial year 2022 are recommended.

Squid

Argentina Illex

The most recent Illex catch has been successful. Prices have started to falter after being very high. However, at present, the market for Illex in Australia has waned, as buyers have been buying Japan Common Squid, Gigas and New Zealand Squid. 

Reintroduction of Illex will create some sales challenges as a large variety of different squid species are already being sold in the Australian market.

New Zealand Arrow

The season is about to start and indications show that there will be higher prices than last year. Increased freight costs have more than tripled the costs of last year, causing huge issues for future pricing of the value-added products.

Product prices have increased mainly due to the increased freight cost and huge demurrage costs while clearing in China. 

In addition, there have been substantial shipments of whole round squid to Australia, where factory owners in Melbourne have been processing into tubes and tentacles for the local market

Japan Common (Todarodes)

Very hot summers experienced in Far East Russia, China and Japan saw the primary squid biomass again in areas further north. The resulting catch was 60% below the expected landings. 

A large percentage of catches has been secured by Japanese holders of a squid import quota at very high prices. As a result, Japan Common Todarodes is not wildly available in the Australian market.

Gigas

There has been a significant price rise in all grades of Gigas. At present, the catches of the large grades have stopped in Peru, due to adverse weather conditions and changes in water temperatures. 

Chinese jiggers and trawlers operating in international waters have been having more success with the larger size of this species. 

Feb Mar Newsletter Web Images SEAFOOD 1 1

Potatoes

Market developments according to World Potato Markets:

Continental Europe

The total EU potato crop is down by more than 5% compared to last year. However, provisional figures show it is still larger than the 2019 harvest. 

National statistical agencies estimate the 2021 EU crop at 51.854 million tonnes, 5.6% down on last year. If former member, the UK is added to the total it becomes 57.072 million tonnes, making is 5.7% down on the 2020 total. 

The EU-4 (Germany, France, Netherlands and Belgium) make up 57.3% of the production of the 27-country bloc, while the EU-4 and the UK make up 61.2% of EU+UK production, compared to 60.8% last year. 

 The total EU and UK area was down 4.2% to 1.734 million hectares, the smallest since 2018. Yields appear to be down a little with an estimated 1.3% reduction in EU and UK performance to 32.9 tonnes per hectare.

Feb Mar Newsletter Web Images POTATO

Wheat

Market developments according to Mauri ANZ:

Domestic

Harvest continues in the southern regions, continuing the three-week late pattern across the eastern states. 

Australian 2021 crop forecasts have continued to rise, with the cooler weather adding extra production in most states. Crop estimates are around 36MMT, up 3MMT from the record harvest in 2020. 

Three quarters of the New South Wales estimated 14MMT crop is feed wheat, which exporters will concentrate on trading after earlier sold commitments are met.

Feb Mar22 wheat graph

Global

Since January, FOB PNW US hard wheat fell US$9/T and French wheat was unchanged. ASX March 2022 Futures fell to $345 and January 2023 by $355. The A$/US$ was at $0.72. 

The market has been trending down after January’s USDA’s changes to the bearish wheat numbers with increased supplies. 

Northern hemisphere winter wheat crops remain in hibernation, largely immune to weather and overall about average.

Dairy

Market developments according to Anchor Food Professionals Global Dairy Intelligence Group:

Imports and exports:

New Zealand

New Zealand milk production for the past 12 months was 1.3% higher on a litre basis (up 0.3% on a milk solids basis) than last year. A colder and wetter start to spring this season compared to last year is impacting production volumes. 

Australia

Australian milk production for the past 12 months was 0.2% lower than last year. Wetter, cooler than average conditions, lower herd numbers, farm sales and labour shortages are reducing total Australian milk production

USA

USA milk production for the past 12 months was 2.1% higher compared to the same period last year. Production growth has continued to slow for the second consecutive month in a row. Lower milk per cow yield and herd size contractions are the result of higher feed costs and are impacting production.

European Union

European Union milk production for the past 12 months was up 0.3% compared to the same period last year, driven by higher volumes across several countries. Higher production volumes were driven by Italy, Ireland and France and partially offset by lower volumes in Germany and the Netherlands.

Feb Mar Newsletter Web Images DAIRY

All information provided is correct at time of publication and is subject to change due to unpredictable circumstances. Adverse weather conditions, currency fluctuations and other market influences which are difficult to predict accurately, that can impact pricing and supply. E&O.E

References

  • Anchor Food Professionals. (2021). Perspective. The latest insights in global dairy markets. NZMP.
  • World Potato Markets. (2021). Agri Markets Limited.