Snow Crab prices have begun to stabilize this week, after a tumultuous start to the Canadian Season.
In Newfoundland, multiple loads have been sold at prices of around $6.90 to $6.95 FOB Boston, and also Japanese interest is strong at this price level.
Urner Barry has begun quoting LTL sales of 5-8 snow crab at $7.10, and $7.20 for Gulf crab.
This past week, poor weather slowed fishing in both the Gulf and Newfoundland and helped stabilize the market.
Unlike last year, the initial price floated by Quinlan and their Japanese partners of around $6.95 appears to be closer to where the market has settled.
Prices for larger size snow crab remain very unsettled. There is a lot less large crab in the Gulf this year than last year, percentage wise. Some packers are reporting 60- 70% 5-8’s, with 10% 4 oz; 3% 10 ups, and perhaps 25% 8-10’s.
Last year 8-10’s made up over 40% of the Gulf snow crab harvest. This year, the total numbers for large snow crab will be similar to last year, based on the increased biomass, but they will represent a far lower percentage of the harvest.
There is some concern that heavy landings of 5-8’s in the Gulf could again put some downward pressure on prices, but that appears not to be happening. One Gulf packer said the fact that many large buyers had committed already to purchases at the $7.10 level meant there was less likely to be pressure to reduce prices further because no one wants to write down their inventories.
A slight weakening of the Canadian dollar over the past two weeks has also helped snow crab exporters, as they are paying $CA $5.00 at the wharf for gulf crab, and $CA 4.46 plus bonuses in Newfoundland. At these price levels and the current exchange rate, things appear to be in balance.
By: John Sackton, SeafoodNews.com
Re-printed with permission of SeafoodNews.com