From: Under Current News
The prices for skipjack tuna raw material for delivery to the processing hubs of Bangkok, Thailand, and Manta, Ecuador are on the rise, sources told Undercurrent News.
For Bangkok, it sounds as if prices will settle at around $1,450 per-metric-ton for the big March deliveries (see the Undercurrent prices portal), up from around $1,260-$1,270/t this time last month. Meanwhile, prices in Manta are around $1,650/t, up from around $1,450-$1,500/t this time in January, said multiple sources in tuna catching and processing.
One source with an Asian fishing company was more bullish, giving $1,500/t for Bangkok, however. A US tuna trader also said one of the big Asian suppliers has been offering $1,500/t to the big Thai packers, but has been rebuffed.
“So, it looks like we could end up with a price at around $1,400-$1,450/t,” he told Undercurrent. Two others said $1,450/t was the more likely outcome.
“Short supply in most oceans” was given as the reason for the increase in prices, which sources said had hit the bottom in January.
Fishing sources said catching has been slow over the last month. “The price is going up again as catches in Atlantic are small and the WCPO [western and central Pacific Ocean] catch is now very bad. Of course, canners still insist on their lower prices as there are still a lot of carriers being unloaded in Bangkok, but if catches continue like this in a week or two, the price will definitely go up,” said one source with an Asian catching company last month.
Prasit Sujiravorakul, an analyst with brokerage Bualuang Securities, wrote in a recent report on Thai Union Group, the world’s largest tuna canner, that less volatility is expected this year.
Sujiravorakul expects skipjack tuna prices to mostly stay in the $1,300-$1,800/t range this year, with any price spikes or dives should only be only for a short duration, making for easier sales price adjustments with clients.
“The reason we expect less price volatility this year than in 2018 is that a good catch is anticipated and the embedded fishing cost outlook is more stable,” wrote Sujiravorakul.