While the Alaskan red salmon run has come in slightly above forecast, the pinks are a disaster. After three years of oversupply and all-time low prices, canners fear the total pink pack may be 60% below last season, resulting in substantial price increases. "The season has a few weeks to go, but all the signs are that we have a serious raw material problem," a source in Seattle said. Pinks are less important in the UK market, but the lack of overhead recovery will affect red pricing, say packers. This year also saw losses in the herring roe business, where processors claim they recovered only 30% of costs, so in spite of a good red pack, there will be pressure on raising red prices announced in about four weeks. Canada may get some Fraser River reds for the first time in a few years, but even if the fish are there, packing will be a problem as capacity has been reduced dramatically since the fishing ban.
After a ten-day delay, Italian tomato canners started production this week. But with yields per hectare down nearly 30%, costs will increase, say Naples sources. UK importers are braced for a 10% increase over last year.Spain will concentrate on industrial packs, while China, which appeared to be a serious threat to European packers, is facing much higher raw material costs and a reduced tonnage. Portugal, a key supplier of concentrate, should have a normal pack, but Greece suffered heavy rains in Thessaloniki, cutting tomato supplies by 20%.Foodservice and industrial users may face increases of nearer 20%, according to one importer. He said: "The weather problems seem to have affected industrial processors more, particularly China."
Russian vets are currently in Brazil inspecting the foot-and-mouth areas, but sources in Sao Paulo expect clearance and a return to normal supplies. Re-approval would boost beef trimming prices by 30% to 40%, pushing up corned beef prices. Lower kills are also expected. Importers have covered most of the summer promotions but the recent hot spell has increased demand for all cold meats, so replacement buying may start at higher prices.
Reduced crop forecasts from Greece and Spain show a further decline in fresh peaches, forcing canners to withdraw offers. There is concern that the total pack will fall short of the volume needed to meet contract demands and, with increased costs, export prices could be 20% higher than last season.