Global integration of European tuna markets
This paper evaluates the degree of integration between the world market and the major European marketplaces of frozen and canned tuna through both vertical and horizontal price relationships. Spatial linkages are investigated horizontally in order to estimate the connection between the European market and the world-wide market on the primary tage of the value chain. One of the key results is the high level of market integration at the exvessel stage, and the price leadership of yellowfin tuna over skipjack tuna. The same approach is applied at the ex-factory level. Basically, the European market for final goods appears to be segmented between the Northern countries consuming low-priced canned skipjack tuna imported from Asia (mainly Thailand) and the Southern countries (Italy, Spain) processing and importing yellowfin-based products sold at higher prices. France appears to be an intermediate market where both products are consumed. The former market is found to be well integrated to the world market and can be considered to be competitive, but there is a suspicion of market power being exercised on the latter. Price relationships are therefore tested vertically between the price of frozen tuna paid by the canneries and the price of canned fish in both Italy and France. The two species show an opposite pattern in prices transmission along the value chain: price changes along the chain are far better transmitted for the “global” skipjack tuna than for the more European” yellowfin tuna. The results are discussed, along with their implications for the fishing industry.
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