While perceived as an energy powerhouse, Russia seafood industry has been stretching its muscles with strong support from the Kremlin. Russia is one of the biggest fish producers in the world and is ranked the fifth largest producer of wild- caught fish according to a 2020 report by the food and agriculture organization of the United States of America. As stated by the Russian federal agency for fisheries the total volume of production (catch) of aquatic biological resources by all Russian users as of March 21, 2022 amounted to 1,140,090 tons, which is 34.75 thousand tons or approx. 3.1% more than in 2021 (hereinafter - for the same period from the beginning of the year) with the pollock fishery amounting to 692,910 tons, 60% of the total aquatic catch for March 2022 and is among Russia’s biggest seafood exports ( aside of cod fish) and the most consumed in the U.S from imitation crabmeat to fish sandwiches sold by international fast food chains.
The worldwide seafood industry is steering itself for price hikes and supply chain disruptions due to the economic sanctions on Russia leading to key species such as cod, pollock and crab harder to supply in the U.S and Europe where the UK enforced 35% tariff hike on Russian whitefish including cod and pollock. According to federal US statistics the main impact will be felt in Maine’s working water front where nearly $50million in seafood products are from Russia passing through Portland. Kanae Tokunaga who runs the Costal & Marine Economics Lab at Gulf of Maine Research Institute stated that the US consumer is most likely to feel the impact of the US sanctions on Russia since the US is highly dependent on foreign cod. The problem stems back to the Atlantic cod overfishing and environmental changes as U.S fishermen used to catch 45.4 million kg of cod in the early 80s compared to 900,000 kg in 2020. On the other side, seafood processors in Massachusetts are concerned about job losses due to the loss of Russian products as stated by Democratic U.S senate Ed Markey. That lead to a general call for producers and U.S consumers to try underutilized fish species caught domestically such as Atlantic pollock and redfish, said Ben Martens, executive director of Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association.
The U.S International Trade commission stated in its February 2021 report that the total seafood catches by the Russian state totaled 5.3 million metric tons in 2018 and Russian seafood exports contributed $4.8 billion to the Russian economy where 3.2% ($153,600,000) of it were exports to the U.S.
The U.S trade commission report comprises that China is the largest global producer, consumer and exporter of seafood, mainly exporting processed products since China is nominated as the seafood processing hub in the world. China’s seafood production was 81 million metric tons in 2018 and total seafood exports amounted to $19.3 billion of which $1.9 billion -10%- was contributed through exportation to the U.S. Furthermore, China processors import significant amounts of seafood from other countries, the imported production is reprocessed and re-exported to third world countries. Like the U.S seafood industry, Russian companies rely mainly on China to process their seafood production which is then re-exported to the U.S after processing as a “product of China” since country of origin labeling isn’t required. That resulted that nearly one third of Chinese exported seafood to the US is originated from Russia, for Pollock and sockeye salmon, the rate is higher – 50% to 75%. U.S trade data show that the biggest importer of Russian fish is Higher Liner Foods while the first two largest fishing companies in 2020 are the Japanese Maruha Nichiro and Nippon Suisan Kaisha ( Nissui).
High Liner Foods briefed company profile:
High Liner Foods Incorporated processes and markets prepared and packaged frozen seafood products in North America. The company provides a range of frozen seafood products, including raw fillets and shellfish, cooked shellfish. It sells its products directly, as well as through distributors to retail and club stores; and through foodservice distributors to hotels, restaurants, and healthcare and educational organizations. The company was founded in 1899 and is headquartered in Lunenburg, Canada. Source : https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/HLF.TO/profile?p=HLF.TO.
High Liner Foods monthly chart technical analysis (HLF.TO): After reversal confirmation on February 2018 followed by bottoming on July 2020 at C$5.26, the stock rebounded in an uptrend move since then breaking resistance at C$12 and reaching a high price at C$15.45 recording a return of approx. 201%. Currently the stock is in a trading range between price zone C$12-$13 and resistance C$15.40. Breaking the current support signals, a down move back to support levels C$9.90 and C$8.5. On the other hand, breaking the C$15.45 resistance level would add momentum for the stock to test resistance levels C$17.24 then C$20.
Maruha Nichiro briefed company profile: Maruha Nichiro Corporation engages in the fishing, fish farming, food processing, trading, meat products, and distribution businesses in Japan and internationally. The company offers seafood products; and operates Bluefin tuna and other farms. It also provides frozen and processed food products; and development of freezing technology for a network of cold storage businesses. Maruha Nichiro Corporation was founded in 1880 and is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Source: https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/1333.T/profile?p=1333.T.
Maruha Nichiro Monthly chart technical analysis (1333.jp): The stock bottomed March 2020 at 1,846 followed by a weak upoward movement. Currently the stock is in a 20% trading range since July 2021. As of today the stock is trading near support levels which the stock is required to sustain to refrain from support levels ¥2,129 and ¥2,119. On the other extreme, breaking the current resistance price zone at would trigger the stock to test ¥2,914 and ¥3,260.
Nippon Suisan Kaisha ( Nissui) briefed company profile: Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Ltd. engages marine, food products, fine chemicals, distribution, and marine-related/engineering businesses in Japan and internationally. The company engages in the provision of salmon, Alaska pollock, yellowtail, shrimp, tuna, crab, and yellowtail products, as well as fish feed, oil, and meal products. It also produces and sells frozen foods for household and food service use, canned and bottled foods, products made from Alaska pollock surimi, and fish sausage products, as well as chilled foods. In addition, the company produces and supplies fine chemical products for pharmaceuticals; and ingredients for functional foods, health products, functional foods, supplements, and other health-related foods that contain EPA. Further, it is involved in integrated logistics service business; and building, repairing, and operating ships. The company was founded in 1911 and is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Source: https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/1332.T/profile?p=1332.T.
Nippon Suisan Kaisha ( Nissui) Monthly chart technical analysis (1332.jp): After retesting June 2007 historical high, , the stock retraced 50% from the uptrend move that started November 2012. Apparently the stock is in a trading range phase between support ¥400 and resistance ¥695 as the trend sloping doesn’t promote an uptrend. The stock is trading near support levels ¥520 -¥515. Breaking the current support level drives the stock to ¥475 ¥400. On the other hand, breaking resistance levels at ¥616 would add momentum for the stock to test ¥700 and ¥785.
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