When tuna prices eased on the Bangkok market to $660/tonne last week, purse-seiners were warning that trawling would be curtailed as returns would not justify costs. Prices have now risen to above $700 and are set to rise further as trawling is controlled.
With the Spanish mandarin packing season ending, the industry is counting the cost of a serious fruit shortage, which pushed UK selling prices up 25%. Spain produced 60% of the 2005/06 pack, compared with 90% five years ago, and China will not fill the gap because of a shortfall there.
Many Spanish packers have turned their factories and land over to the lucrative real estate business, leaving only three canners of any size. A property boom in Murcia has encouraged family businesses to cash in their assets after struggling to make a return on processing for the past few years.
Reports that China was set to flood the market with mandarins accelerated the Spanish moves into property development.
UK importers believed the claims were never well founded, but the damage to the industry has been done.
Misunderstandings between veterinary authorities in Brussels and Brazil have resulted in shipment delays of all processed meat products coming into Europe.
A backlog of four weeks’ deliveries held up in Brazilian ports will cause serious shortages over the next few weeks, say UK importers. Hardest hit will be hot meat packs such as stewed steak. “We have already advised customers that we will be out of stock for three weeks while the health certificates are corrected and shipments resumed,” one importer said.
Five weeks ago, EU vets reformatted the electronic paperwork, causing confusion in Brazil. Goods subsequently failed to gain the required documentation, leading to a cessation of shipping programmes.