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Scottish salmon producers puzzled by slump in Chinese sales

Sales to China fell by 21% in first six months of the year. Why?

A sharp fall in fresh Scottish salmon exports to China during the first six months of the year is puzzling Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) officials.

With figures published Friday, SSPO has so far been unable to determine a reason for the fall off to Chinese businesses.

Sales to China in the first half of this year fell by 21 percent to £37 million (€39.8 million/$44.7 million), although there was growth in other Asian and Oceania markets, including Taiwan, which was up by 15 percent. Japan sales were up 85 percent, meanwhile.

"Not reading too much into it at this stage because it's only half-year figures. We may well find by the time we have got the whole year we may well be back on track," an SSPO spokesperson told IntraFish. "But I suspect there has just been perhaps more attractive markets in the first half of the year for Scottish salmon."

Full year figures for 2018 show 9,700 metric tons worth £68.3 million (€73.5 million/$82.4 million) worth of salmon was exported to China. In 2017, 9,800 tons metric tons of Scottish salmon valued at £68.7 million (€73.9 million/$82.9 million) was sent into the market.

"So while the figures to China are down year on year, H1 still accounts for 53 percent of the total value of salmon exported [to China] in 2018, so a similar performance in H2 of 2019 [to H1 2019] would bring China back on track," the spokesperson later wrote in an email.

Despite the drop in business, China is third-largest market for Scottish salmon producers, and the international appetite for Scottish salmon has continued to grow since January this year, the SSPO said.

Overseas sales of Scottish salmon in the first half rose by 25 percent to £319 million (€344 million/$385.3 million) and volume has also increased by 25 percent to 47,000 metric tons, compared with the same period in 2018.

In the first six months of 2019 Scottish salmon was exported to 47 countries.

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