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Morpol Says Lower Salmon Prices Won’t Hinder Industry Growth

Morpol ASA, the world’s largest salmon processor, said a recovery in production from Chile won’t drag down prices to a level where industry expansion stalls.

While a resurgence of Chilean output, four years after a virus decimated fish stocks, will weigh on prices, it will help stabilize the market and allow growth, Chief Financial Officer Steven Rafferty said today in an interview in Oslo, where Morpol is based. “I don’t see salmon prices ever coming back down in the next five years to very low levels,” he said.

Chile may increase its output of Atlantic salmon to 300,000 metric tons by 2013 from 120,000 tons in 2010, according to a June 1 report from Chardan Capital Markets. Production of Atlantic salmon peaked at almost 400,000 tons in 2008.

The prospect of a recovery in Chile has helped push down salmon prices this year, according to UBS AG. The price of Norwegian exported fresh salmon has dropped 17 percent year-to-date after a 41 percent gain in 2010. Export prices for fresh or chilled fish fell 1.6 percent to 36.08 kroner ($6.67) a kilogram in the week to June 5, after sliding 5.4 percent the prior week.

A price of about 35 kroner would ensure sustainable growth in the industry, Rafferty said today.

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