Last year, at this time, fresh HPP Venezuelan jumbo lump was selling for almost $60 per pound! Local Maryland jumbo lump was actually less expensive than Venezuelan. The economy was “awash” in free money and cheap money. Financial conditions were as “loose” as anyone could remember, and the flame had been lit on the inflation fire that would soon turn into an inferno and consume almost every aspect of our economy today. Fast forward a year, and the situation is dramatically different.
Financial conditions are tightening, all the free money has dried up, and with interest rates rising, borrowing money costs a lot more. Seafood commodity pricing, in general, is directly affected by the state of the economy and current financial conditions. Last year, it was easy to see the effect of those conditions, with crab prices paid to the crabbers on the Bay at almost $300 per bushel all summer. This year they are struggling to sell bushels for half that. It has been a painful first half of 2022 for several major seafood categories, especially for fresh and pasteurized crabmeat, snow crab, and wild salmon.
The good news is that we are returning to “historical norms” on almost all seafood items. The only question is how fast we will get there. We guess that by the end of 2022, prices will be back to pre-pandemic levels in almost all categories. (Full Newsletter)