Market update

China drives global lobster demand as supplies tighten

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags: United kingdom, Europe, European union, China

An increase in demand from China, combined with tight global supplies, has caused a surge in lobster prices, with the European Union reporting a 38% spike year on year at the start of February.

According to Mintec, the commodities analyst, the world’s lobster supplies have tightened, due to poor catches in America and Canada, the world’s biggest producers. In Nova Scotia, a major fishing area on the east coast of the continent, unfavourable cold weather conditions disrupted catches throughout December and January. 


Demand for lobster in China rose throughout 2016, driven by continuing growth in middle-class numbers and shifting consumer preferences. 

Lobster exports to China from the UK, the EU’s biggest producer, increased 71% year on year to 14,800 tonnes in the first 11 months of 2016. 

Recently, China has further increased its imports of lobster from the EU, particularly during the Chinese New Year, due to tight supplies elsewhere.

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