POST Online Media Lite Edition


Canned tuna market remained dormant in 2015

Staff Writer |
The canned tuna market remained dormant in 2015, though raw material prices were at a six year low, reveals FAO Globefish.

Article continues below

The impact of falling raw material prices in 2015 was minimal on the large and traditional markets of the U.S.A, Europe and Australia, indicating saturated consumer demand for traditional canned tuna.

In contrast, U.S. imports of non-canned tuna, including frozen tuna fillets and high-value processed tuna in pouches increased in 2015. Taking advantage of lower raw material prices, European tuna canners also imported more cooked loins to produce high-value products.

Throughout 2015, overall supply of raw material tuna remained higher than the corresponding market demand for canned tuna.

As a result, tuna packers in Southeast Asia, Ecuador and in the Western Indian Ocean held large inventories.

Frozen skipjack prices fell to record low levels as did canned tuna prices. In December 2015, prices of frozen skipjack weakened to less than $1 000 per tonne, compared with $1,150 in the same month of 2014 and $1,400 in 2013.

However, raw material imports into Thailand, the Philippines and China in 2015 did not increase compared with the previous year. Subsequently, fishing efforts reduced during the fourth quarter of 2015.

As of this writing, fishing in the Western and Central Pacific has also slowed due to poor weather. The U.S. Tuna Treaty has been finalized and the U.S. fleet is now allowed to resume fishing in the Western and Central Pacific.

There has been a significant drop in landing activities in Thailand and Thai Canneries are reporting moderate-to-low inventories. Raw material supply is expected to be tight in the coming months.

Fishing in the Eastern Pacific has resumed but catches are poor. In Ecuador, raw material inventories are low and expected to be tight over the next few months.

Short supplies from the Indian and Atlantic Oceans have resulted in substantially higher raw material prices in Europe this year. Fishing in the Indian Ocean is moderate, with mainly skipjack being caught. Local canneries are holding good inventories of raw material. The FAD closure in the Atlantic Ocean ended on 1 March, but fishing has remained at a low-to-moderate level so far. Local canneries are holding moderate raw material inventories.

Once again, U.S. imports of air-flown whole/dressed tuna remained higher than Japanese imports of the same product in 2015. The U.S.A also reported growth in this product category, by 3.7 per cent compared with 2014.

U.S. imports of frozen tuna (whole/ dressed and fillets) in 2015 grew significantly by 24 per cent compared with 2014 to total 27,850 tonnes. Nearly 26 000 tonnes of frozen tuna fillets comprised 92 per cent of the total volume, for which the average import price was $ 11.5 per kg. Indonesia was the lead supplier with a 38 per cent market share, followed by the Philippines and Thailand.

Altogether the U.S. market imported 51,000 tonnes of fresh and frozen tuna for non-canned usages in 2015, supported by strong demand from retail and catering trade.

The descending trend of Japan's sashimi tuna imports continued in 2015. Supplies of air-flown tuna from overseas were 20.6 per cent lower than compared with 2014, once again highlighting falling consumer demand for raw tuna in the world's largest sashimi market.

Lower imports of whole/dressed frozen bluefin, bigeye and yellowfin tuna also indicated that sashimi consumption in Japan declined. Moreover, the weak yen made imports costly and competition by cheaper salmon contributed to the decline. Despite the decrease in imports, record low skipjack prices encouraged higher imports for that species (+60 per cent) compared with 2014. Skipjack are primarily being used for processing katsuobushi (smoked/dried tuna) and canned tuna for the domestic market.

Imports of deep frozen tuna fillets (for sashimi usage) increased in Japan by 13 per cent compared with 2014 to total roughly 40,355 tonnes. The total volume consisted of 14 958 tonnes of bigeye, 13,172 tonnes of yellowfin, 12,528 tonnes of bluefin and 21 tonnes of southern bluefin tuna fillets.

Notably, in the tuna fillet market, the share of redmeat quality tuna (bigeye and yellowfin) was much higher in 2015 with increasing demand due to affordable prices and a longer shelf life compared with bluefin. The Republic of Korea and China are the main exporters of red meat quality tuna fillets to the Japanese market.

Falling tuna prices and stagnant demand in the traditional large import markets caused export revenues to fall in the top five exporting countries, Thailand (-16.3 per cent), Ecuador (-30 per cent), Spain (-20 per cent), China (-11 per cent) and the Philippines (-31 per cent).

During this same time period in terms of volumes, total exports of canned and processed tuna also declined for Thailand, Ecuador, China and the Philippines, though less than in value terms. Among the main exporters, only Spain reported a moderated growth of the canned tuna export quantity.

In terms of processed tuna, (HS code 1604141900), Thai exports increased by 16.3 per cent in 2015 to reach 175,000 tonnes.

Record low import prices of canned and processed tuna failed to generate extra demand for conventional canned products in the two most important markets, the EU and the U.S.A.

Nontraditional markets, however, took advantage of lower market prices and imports increased in the Middle Eastern markets namely Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. There were also higher imports in Latin American markets, such as Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil.

An analysis of 2015 import patterns indicate that demand for conventional canned tuna may have reached a saturation point in the traditional, large markets, whereas many emerging markets in the developing world offer trade opportunities.

In 2015, U.S. imports of canned and processed tuna totaled 206 000 tonnes, which had a custom declared value of $ 876.8 million. These figures are respectively 14 per cent and 17.5 per cent lower than in 2014. Thailand, China, Ecuador, Viet Nam and the Philippines were the top five suppliers in the U.S. market. Imports declined from all of these sources except Ecuador, which reported a 14 per cent increase.

In 2015, U.S. imports of processed tuna consisted of 64,160 tonnes of cooked loins, 33,065 tonnes of pouched tuna and 105,000 tonnes of canned tuna.

Compared to 2014, imports of cooked loins and canned tuna declined, whereas increased for pouched tuna, which is a higher value product. China and Thailand were the top suppliers of cooked loins and Thailand was the lead supplier of pouched tuna.

In 2015, the EU imported from extra-EU countries 485,700 tonnes of prepared and canned tuna, including cooked loins at a value of $ 2.14 billion. Compared with 2014, quantitative imports declined marginally (0.5 per cent) but the import value declined significantly by 18.8 per cent due to raw material prices weakening worldwide. The top five import markets in the EU were Spain, the UK, Italy, France and Germany.

Compared with 2014, import demand remained rather stagnant even though raw material prices, especially frozen skipjack, were low. The top five suppliers to the EU market from extra-EU countries were Ecuador, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Thailand and the Philippines. Supplies declined from all of these countries except for the Philippines.

However, imports increased from Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Madagascar and the Solomon Islands.

Looking at total EU imports of prepared tuna from extra-EU countries, the share of cooked loins was 25 per cent. This product category demonstrated year-on-year growth of 13 per cent to total a bit over 122,000 tonnes in 2015, with cooked skipjack and yellowfin each accounted for about 50,000 tonnes. Spain remained the largest market of tuna loins with a 23 per cent rise in imports compared with 2014, as a result of lower raw material prices.

In the UK, imports of high-value products increased, particularly from Spain, France and Portugal.

Compared with 2014, imports of eco-certified pole and line caught tuna products also increased from the Maldives by 175 per cent at 520 tonnes. In comparison, imports from Papua New Guinea declined by 45 per cent against the same period in 2014.

In France, overall imports of canned and processed tuna in 2015 declined by 8 per cent compared with 2014. However, cooked loin imports, which are included in this total, increased from 8,142 tonnes in 2014 to 8,679 tonnes in 2015. These were used for processing value-added products that are generally sold within the EU market.

Among the other markets in the EU, canned/processed tuna imports declined by 13 per cent in Italy, 14 per cent in Portugal, 15 per cent in the Netherlands and 14 per cent in Belgium but increased by 21 per cent in Poland.

Overall import trends for canned tuna remained mixed in the Asia/Pacific region. Imports in Japan were stable at 55,000 tonnes, while domestic production of canned tuna increased following softening of raw material prices and increased raw material imports.

Lower tuna prices generated improved demand for canned tuna in the emerging markets but failed to make much of an impact on U.S. and EU imports for conventional products. However, U.S. imports of pouched tuna increased during the reporting period. Spain managed to increase its exports of high-value canned tuna to the intra-EU market in 2015.

These summary trends for 2015 are likely to persist overall for 2016, as long as raw material prices remain stable. That said, as of March 2016, supplies of tuna had declined and lower inventories in canneries were reported. Both of these factors have led to strong demand for raw material and have resulted in increasing prices for both skipjack and yellowfin.

In Ecuador, skipjack prices are expected to reach $1,500 per tonne at the end of April. Demand from canned tuna buyers has also started to strengthen. Time will tell if this demand growth will continue long enough to affect overall tuna trade trends in 2016.

What to read next

Vietnamese tuna exports face high import tax from Japan
U.S. expands tougher 'dolphin-safe' rules around the world
Tuna rules tightened by ISSF

U.S.: Strong storm for west and southwest, heavy snow for Northern Plains and upper midwest

A very strong low pressure system currently just offshore of San Francisco Bay will continue to bring high winds, heavy rain, and heavy mountain snow for California and adjacent areas of the Southwest through tonight and Wednesday as the latest in a series of atmospheric rivers impacts the West.


Magnitude 5.9 earthquake strikes Valparaiso
Perrigo recalls Gerber Good instant formula in U.S.
City of Chicago announces Community Growers Program
Xi, Putin discuss ramping up supplies of Russian gas


Extensive raid underway in Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina on suspicion of money laundering

Strong earthquake hits Afghanistan, felt from Kabul to Tajikistan
5-day quarantine for COVID-19 patients in Slovakia no longer mandatory
China seeking answers a year after fatal plane crash
Ecuador president declares state of emergency following earthquake
Venezuela’s oil minister resigns amid corruption probe


Generic pharmaceuticals market expected to reach $682.9 billion

Drug discovery services market worth $41.3 billion
Moldova resumes using Russian gas
Ukraine to ship 30,000 tonnes of wheat to Yemen, Ethiopia each
Syria earthquakes caused $5.2 billion in damage, 5.5% GDP contraction
Donors’ pledge €7 billion in support of people in Türkiye and Syria

Trending Now

Perrigo recalls Gerber Good instant formula in U.S.

U.S.: Strong storm for west and southwest, heavy snow for Northern Plains and upper midwest

Saudi Aramco, DHL sign agreement on new procurement, logistics hub

City of Chicago announces Community Growers Program


California Governor visits Lithium Valley

Czech delegation heads to Taiwan, hopes for chip investments
India to spend $12 billion on airports
New York: March 18-19, 25-26 declared as Maple Weekends
Malaysia postpones foreign worker quota approval, application
Minnesota to provide free school meals to all kids

Today We Recommend

Shortage of nurses should be treated as global health emergency


Generic pharmaceuticals market expected to reach $682.9 billion

Drug discovery services market worth $41.3 billion

Foot Locker Q4 income decreased


Schneider Electric breaks ground on its fifth plant in Hungary, will create hundreds of new jobs

Amazon to lay off 9,000 more employees
Volvo to close Europe bus body plant
CF Industries to purchase Waggaman ammonia production facility in U.S.
Cyber incident in Ferrari
Saudi Aramco, DHL sign agreement on new procurement, logistics hub


Vanda Pharmaceuticals appoints Tage Honoré to board

Akhona Qengqe to become KFC Africa’s new general manager
Marlabs appoints Usha Jamadagni as chief delivery officer
Rolls-Royce announces new leadership for Africa
AIG director William G. Jurgensen to retire
Ball Corporation promotes Daniel W. Fisher to chairman


BiH records almost seven percent increase of exports

Hong Kong exports decreased
South Korea's export falls 17.4 pct for first 20 days of March
Bundesbank: German economy to contract further in Q1
Euro area international trade in goods deficit €30.6 bn
Montana’s unemployment rate hits all-time low


Foot Locker Q4 income decreased

FedEx Q3 profit decreases
Revlon Q4 sales $589.8 million
Eastman Kodak Q4 revenues $305 million
Williams-Sonoma Q4 revenue declined 0.6%
G-III Apparel Q3 sales increased 14.2%


Micromanaging is the worst enemy of efficiency and teamwork

Niger set to monetize massive gas reserves through Saharan natural gas pipeline
Putting the brakes on EV folly that choked the market
Oil discovery in Kavango Basin may mean huge benefits for Namibians
Cape Town and Dubai battle over Africa's energy future
Is America going to lose its superpower status?


Türkiye's agricultural sector suffers 1.3 bln loss due to earthquake

Hong Kong suspends import of poultry meat and products from Gribskov Municipality, Denmark
South Korea reports African swine fever case
Taiwan reports first domestic H9N2 avian influenza case
Industry will allocate some $327,000 to assist producers affected by drought in Uruguay
Hardly fewer dairy cows, but smaller pig herd in Netherlands in 2022


Success of working from home depends on company health

Consumers less likely to support brands with unconventional spellings
HR practices have both positive and negative effects on employee mental health
CEO education is no guarantee of stock market success
How remote work affects managers
Incoming CEO's political views may drive director departure in firm


Poland: UOKIK fines Merida Polska $573,000

SEC charges DXC Technology for misleading non-GAAP disclosures
Investigation leads to takedown of darknet cryptocurrency mixer that processed over $3b of unlawful transactions
Chicago reaches $23.8m settlement agreement with e-cigarette maker Juul Labs
SEC charges Blackbaud for misleading disclosures about ransomware attack that impacted charitable donors
Former Goldman Sachs investment banker sentenced in $2.7b bribery and money laundering scheme



Five day street food festival in Mangaluru brings Indian food to city

Qatar International Food Festival is back
Me Auld Flower food and drink festival coming to Dublin for St Patrick's Day weekend
Ten days of Winter Festival, a time travel back to end of 18th century Norway
Strong Beer Fest in Munich invites visitors to taste potent brews
Food world gathers for Melbourne Food and Wine Festival this March


First GMC Sierra EV, power source on wheels

Ford Puma ST Powershift, most powerful 1.0‑litre EcoBoost engine
Toyota launches new Prius PHEV in Japan
Ariel Atom, serious motor sport or ultimate fun
ABT XNH, camper for those who want to expand their horizons
Lamborghini Invencible and Autentica, farewell to V12


Juliska tableware, collections for every occasion

Wool coats, a timeless fashion investment
Venetto bedding, creating a beautiful bedroom space
Bed headboards, sleep like a king
Great rugs for generations responsibly made
Curved sofas, elegant and gentle


New Cherry microphones for professional sound quality

Mobile Fidelity UltraDeck turntable, extreme pursuit of highest level of reproduction
Nokia G22, good smartphone you can fix yourself
NAD C 3050 LE amplifier, a classic reinvented
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED, ultralighta and powerful laptop with OLED display
Dynaudio Confidence means pure performance


Shortage of nurses should be treated as global health emergency

WHO accuses China Of withholding data on COVID-19 origins after report about raccoon dogs
Wyoming first U.S. state to outlaw abortion pills
Tanzania launches investigations as strange disease kills 5 people
WHO sees COVID posing similar threat to flu this year
New VEXAS syndrome identified in Portugal


Missouri ordered to reduce pollution levels

Brazilian researchers discover terrifying rocks made up of plastic debris
Glacier found near Mars equator
Neolithic farmers reduced lactose in milk
Webb captures rarely seen prelude to supernova
Arctic climate modeling too conservative