According to customs statistics, in 2020, China imported about 1.42 million tons of fishmeal, of which about 654,000 tons were imported from Peru, a decrease of 15%compared to the previous year; imports from places of origin other than Peru reached 767,000 tons, an increase of 17%. For the first time, the value of imports exceeded USD 1 billion.
But at present, the Peruvian fishmeal industry does not seem to worry about the situation of the Chinese market. James Frank, general manager of Peruvian fishmeal trading company MSICeres, told UCN:”The reason why China buys fishmeal from other countries is mainly because of insufficient production in Peru, especially the low catch in the second season of 2019, and the supply is quite tight.”
From the data point of view, China imports more fishmeal than the other 12 countries (the largest fishmeal importer outside of China) combined (pictured below). Chile, Mauritania and Southeast Asian countries are expanding their fishmeal exports year by year. The Chinese aquaculture industry.
Last year, the trade volume of Chilean fishmeal with China achieved a substantial increase. About 110,000 tons of Chilean fishmeal was sold to China, an increase of 73%; Mauritania also exported 84,000 tons of fishmeal, an increase of 28%; Thailand’s fishmeal export volume reached 79,000 tons, an increase of 40%; South Africa (25,000 tons), Myanmar (25,000 tons) and Malaysia (20,000 tons) also achieved outstanding export performance.
Frank stated that although China has increased its purchases of fishmeal from other origins, importers will still pay a premium for Peru’s high-quality fishmeal. The raw materials of fishmeal in some Asian countries are uneven, and some are still made from processed leftovers, and the quality and price cannot be compared with Peruvian fishmeal.
”All countries want to export fishmeal to China, which may be a long-term trend in the fishmeal industry.” Frank said.
Compared to ten years ago, China’s imports of non-Peruvian fishmeal have increased by 78%, and African fishmeal imports have more than quadrupled. In Frank’s view, Peru will surely regain its lost market share in 2021. The quota for the second production season in 2020 will reach 2.78 million tons. It is expected that exports in the first quarter of this year will set a new record.
” In November and December 2020, the output of Peruvian anchovy is quite optimistic. We expect that the output in April, May and June this year will also be ideal. The quota for the first production season may be in the range of 2.5-3 million tons, and this year The November and December production season is not too bad. As long as we have fishmeal, we can definitely make a lot of money.” Frank said.
Due to Chinese buyers rushing to buy, the sales of Peruvian fishmeal in the European and American markets have decreased. In 2020, Peru exported about 838,000 tons of fishmeal, down 19%from the previous year, and 650,000 tons were sold to China, accounting for 77%of exports. Sales in Europe fell 16%to 43,000 tons, and sales in the United States fell 41%to 27,000 tons.
”At present, Peruvian fishmeal seems to be too dependent on the Chinese market. In previous years, our exports were relatively balanced. The European market used to account for 20%, but it has been declining in recent years.” Frank said.
Two years ago, the European Union issued new regulations prohibiting the addition of ethoxyquin in fish meal, forcing feed manufacturers to use the more expensive dibutyl hydroxytoluene (BHT) as a product stabilizer. On the contrary, Chinese officials have always been open to ethoxyquin.
Frank said that the freight in Europe is also higher than in Asia, and the freight per ton of fishmeal to Europe is as high as $80, compared to only $10-20/t in Asian countries.”As long as the price of fishmeal is strong, China’s market position will not be shaken. In the first season of 2021, Peru has pre-sold 210,000 tons of fishmeal, which is mainly purchased by China, with very few European orders.”
Peruvian fish meal manufacturers usually divide their products into several grades based on the protein content of fish meal, volatile (basic) nitrogen (TVN), histamine and other indicators.”Superprime” (Superprime) has the highest grade, with a protein content of 68%, a TVN value of about 100, and a histamine index below 500. This product needs to be made from anchovy more than 12 cm. The next level is”Prime”, with a protein content of 67%, a TVN value of about 120, and a histamine below 1,000. The general product is”Standard fish meal”, with a protein content of 65%, a TVN value of 150 or higher, and no upper limit for histamine concentration.
Frank stated that if the buyer and the seller sign a forward contract, both parties do not know the specific quality of the fishmeal in the next season. Traders generally provide different product prices to match different fishmeal levels and adapt to different customers. demand. If low-grade fishmeal is the majority during the production season, buyers can also get some discounts. Generally, Chinese pig feed producers have a high demand for”super fish meal”, and Peruvian businesses will generally find ways to meet their needs first.
If the catch is good during the production season, 70%of the products are super fishmeal and premium fishmeal. For manufacturers, these high-quality products are more productive and cost-effective.