Red Caviar is Sold at Black Market Prices Before New Year

Red Caviar is Sold at Black Market Prices Before New Year


The prices for red caviar reached a record high in October for the past 20 years. Retail prices jumped 30% exceeding 5,000 rubles ($ 67.23) per kilogram.

In October 2000, the retail price of red caviar was 675.2 rubles ($9.08) per kilo, while in October of this year it was 5,033 rubles ($67.27) per kilo. The previous high was recorded not so long ago, in 2018, when 1 kg of this delicacy cost 3,900 ($52.44) rubles. Back then it was caused by the New Year shopping frenzy, as well as a twofold increase in the cost of transportation.

“To the best of my knowledge, this year's fishing season was very good,” Alexander Novikov, President of the Sturgeon Breeders Association, told “Correspondingly, there is more caviar and fish than last year. Nevertheless, the fishermen preferred to sell their products at last year's high, which played a certain role, of course.”

Speculation in the market was one of the main factors behind the growth of red caviar prices in the expiring year. For example, the traders who represent in Moscow the interests of fish factories sell, at the very least, a thousand tonnes of caviar per season for a sales commission. These major players have set and maintain high or, rather sky-high prices for this delicacy. So, they took advantage of the shortage of high-quality caviar, high export prices, and the crisis, which, unfortunately, occurred in logistics.

If the government subsidizes the deliveries of seafood from the Far East to the central part of Russia, this factor might play a positive role which will inevitably have an influence on the availability of caviar to the consumer. After all, its output will be 27,000-30,000 tonnes, while the capacity of the domestic market is 14,000-18,000 tonnes. There will be no shortage of caviar because more than 90% of products are supplied to the domestic market.

“The information that 30% of all products including caviar sold throughout the year are bought in December is not a surprise to anyone,” said Novikov. “This happens because everyone is trying to maximize profits. The desire to earn more money than the rest of the chain of intermediaries is a key driver now.”

According to Novikov, after the New Year public holidays, when the “chain participants” understand that the peak has passed, the next harvest will begin in July, and not all the caviar “has yet been sold,” they will still try to sell it. Accordingly, the price will start falling.

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