Marine Harvest ASA ($MNHVY), the world’s leading farmer of Atlantic salmon, saw shares rise some 3.5 percent on the pink sheets on Thursday as a particularly nasty 2-month supply glut looks to be nearing an end.
According to the Norwegian Fish Pool ASA Salmon exchange, the only one of its kind in the world, over the past two months the spot price of Atlantic salmon has dropped from record highs of roughly $4.25 per pound in July to under $3 last week. The weather has been a major factor, as an unusually cold winter held back production earlier in the year, and an unusually warm summer subsequently forced farmers to harvest more and earlier than usual.
In 2011, prices fell some 60 percent as producers in Chile, the world’s second largest producer of farmed salmon, had much larger harvests than had been expected, inflating the supply and causing the market to crash. The current situation is nowhere near so dire, as Chilean production has already peaked for 2013.
Prices are expected to tread water for the rest of the year, but should head back up to the $4 per pound range by 2014 as the supply situation is gradually evened out. December is traditionally the month when the smoked fish industry kicks into gear as demand increases.
In the meantime, Marine Harvest, a company with a market cap of around $4 billion, has been having a great year despite the unseasonal weather throughout the year. The company has seen shares gain over 20 percent since last November, and with today’s pop are trading over the counter for $21.50 a piece.