Coronavirus Outbreak Causes Logistic Hurdles for Russian Exporters in China

The spreading coronavirus in China poses a threat to Russian exporters of foodstuffs to the country, Kommersant writes.

China has stopped several batches of Russian fish products and halted talks on new contracts while falling consumer demand has cut prices on poultry 10-15%. Market participants have not yet adjusted their plans but report logistic problems in China.

The Chinese are a major importer of Russia’s foodstuffs. In January-November 2019, the supplies grew 23.7% to $2.72 billion, the Russian Export Center told the paper citing the Federal Customs Service. According to figures, frozen fish accounted for more than $1.2 billion, crustaceans for over $250 million, sunflower oil for more than $200 million, and poultry and chocolates for roughly $100 million each.

Alexander Efremov, managing director at fish trading company Dobroflot, confirmed problems with exporting foodstuffs to China. At least two batches of Russian fish, which were to be supplied for Chinese processing plants, have been held up, he said. “Perhaps, production at the enterprises has been suspended due to the quarantine. Or Chinese manufacturers fear that their goods won’t be bought globally due to the coronavirus,” Efremov assumed.

The President of the Walleye Pollock Producers Association Alexei Buglak said that prices on his type of fish dropped 15%. What’s more, unless the situation with the coronavirus stabilizes within a week, Russia’s fish exports could face more negative consequences, he warned.

President of the All-Russian Association of Fish Breeders German Zverev notes that China’s demand for crabs has significantly declined, and the prices have dropped to $7 per kg from $15-$18 per kg last year. According to the association, some Russian crab producers have suspended harvesting.

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