After a surprising rise in prices last Friday, Norwegian salmon prices are reversing and falling sharply.

Prices for Norwegian salmon this week haven fallen between NOK 10 (€0.96/$1.05) and NOK 20 (€1.64/$2.11) depending on the size of the salmon, suppliers told IntraFish on Friday.

"Prices are going down sharply and we expect it to take a long time before we agree. Especially the big fish are falling, due to low demand in Asia due to the coronavirus," said one exporter. He expects a price drop of NOK 10 (€0.96/$1.05) to NOK 15 (€1.44/$1.58) per kilogram.

"Nothing has really been done about trades yet. Today, it may take a long time for us to agree."

Another exporter has higher estimates, expecting as much as a NOK 20 (€1.64/$2.11) drop for the weight class over six kilograms.

"Customers will not give us prices. They expect prices to just fall more and more and sit on the fence. Nervousness spreads," he said, adding that the issues with coronavirus, particularly fish coming back from Italy, have been challenging.

According to a third exporter, the price fall is due to strong supply combined with slightly lower demand as a result of people staying more at home in many markets. With the Asian market showing difficulty, the big-fish category has been hit the hardest, he said.

IntraFish sister companyDagens Naeringslivreported Friday that Norwegian exports to China have fallen by 90 percent so far this year, due to the challenges posed by the coronavirus.

Logistical challenges

According to one salmon farmer, the price fall shouldn't be surprising, with the Chinese market being closed off from imports of salmon, but the logistics have also become complicated.

"When China stops shipping goods, there is a shortage of containers," the executive said.

"There are almost no containers available for frozen fish now, and everything is about to stop. Where there is transport capacity, freight prices rise a lot. I think salmon prices will be very low for a long time to come."

Although prices are estimated to be around NOK 60s (€5.76/$6.33), the source said the price is not good for farmers.

"[For farmers] it's a ridiculously high price, but they don't realize it themselves," he added.

"As I said, it is completely incomprehensible that prices rose last Friday. They will fall much, much more. This is just the beginning. Market after market is falling fast, and the restaurant market is stopping."

IntraFish has not received very specific estimates of salmon prices this Friday, but prices are low in the range of NOK 60 (€5.76/$6.33) for most weight classes, while some players expect the largest fish (6kg+) to fall below NOK 60 (€5.76/$6.33).

Last Friday, prices rose sharply, close to NOK 10 (€0.96/$1.05).