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8M seafood exports to hit $4.36 billion

Released at: 15:21, 13/09/2016

8M seafood exports to hit $4.36 billion

Photo: Viet Tuan

Exports rising at 4 per cent year-on-year.

by Do Huong

Vietnam’s seafood exports had earned nearly $4 billion in revenue this year as at mid-August, up 5 per cent year-on-year, according to Vietnam Customs. The figure for the first eight months is estimated at $4.36 billion, up 4 per cent year-on-year.

From January to July seafood exports totaled $3.76 billion, an increase of 3.8 per cent compared to the same period last year. Sales of main products, however, saw only slight growth.

Shrimp exports rose 4.6 per cent, pangasius (shark catfish) 4.1 per cent, tuna 0.9 per cent, and other finfish 7.2 per cent, while exports of mollusks fell 5.3 per cent and crab and other crustaceans 1.7 per cent against the same period last year.

Shrimp exports up on greater demand and higher prices

In July, shrimp exports reached $274 million, up 4 per cent year-on-year and from January to July have been estimated at $1.6 billion. The increases were driven by a climb in demand and global shrimp prices due to a slump in supply.

The export value of white leg shrimp, which account for 59.7 per cent of all shrimp exports, increased 7.3 per cent in the first seven months while those of black tiger shrimp rose a mere 0.9 per cent over the same period last year. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), in the first half, due to unfavorable weather, output of brackish water shrimp in the Mekong Delta fell and raw shrimp prices rose as a result.

Shrimp exports to the US, Vietnam’s largest import market, accounted for 22.4 per cent of export value and increased 16.3 per cent year-on-year from January to July. Import prices of shrimp in the U.S rose due to falling supply from exporters such as India, Indonesia, Ecuador, and Thailand. Import demand for black tiger shrimp went up as supply from India and Indonesia fell.

India, the biggest supplier of shrimp to the US, is in trouble because of disease damaging output. The US Department of Commerce (DOC) also increased the average duty on India’s shrimp imports to 4.98 per cent from the previous 2.96 per cent, according to ICRA Limited, an Indian credit ratings agency.

Ecuador, also a major shrimp exporter, is likely to see lower output due to earthquakes and disease, while Indonesia’s shrimp output has also been hit by disease.

Vietnam’s shrimp exports to the EU, meanwhile, were greater due to falling global inventories. To July, shrimp exports to the EU hit $315.9 million for the year, up 6 per cent year-on-year, while those to China reached $249.2 million, up 38 per cent.

With the current growth rate, Vietnam’s shrimp exports in the first eight months of this year are estimated at $1.9 billion, an increase of 4 per cent over the same period last year.

Pangasius sales to US and China rising

As at July, Vietnam pangasius exports stood at $927.8 million for the year, an increase of 4.1 per cent compared to the same period of 2015. Sales to the US and China both saw good growth.

In the first seven months, exports to the US (which account for 23 per cent of all pangasius exports) totaled $213.7 million, up 15.8 per cent year-on-year.

According to DOC, in the first half of 2016 imports of pangasius in the US rose by 13 per cent but value fell year-on-year. The average import price dropped to $2.5-2.7 per kilo from $2.8-3.2 in the same period last year.

The import price of frozen pangasius fillets remains relatively low compared to other whitefish products, such as frozen tilapia fillets, at $4.3-4.6 per kilo, frozen haddock $6.3-6.6, and fresh/chilled tilapia $7.1-7.8.

From January to August Vietnam’s pangasius exports were estimated at $1.09 billion, up 7 per cent year-on-year. The figure for the year as a whole is forecast to reach $1.65 billion, up 6 per cent against 2015.

Tuna exports up slightly

Vietnam’s tuna exports exceeded $266 million from January to July, up 0.9 per cent year-on-year, in which sales of fresh/live/frozen tuna continued to take up the largest share.

However, exports of these items fell 9.6 per cent over the same period of last year. Those of processed tuna (HS code 16), meanwhile, increased nearly 12 per cent. Notably, shipments of fresh/live/frozen tuna (except for frozen tuna loins HS code 0304) and canned tuna went up in the first seven months of the year against the same period last year.

To July, Vietnam tuna exports to main markets posted positive growth for the year. In particular, exports to the US rose 0.5 per cent year-on-year, those to ASEAN 24.9 per cent, those to China 81.9 per cent, and those to Israel 10.9 per cent.

Vietnam’s tuna exports were estimated at about $306 million from January to August, up 1 per cent year-on-year.

While exports of these three main products (shrimp, pangasius and tuna) posted slight growth year-to-date, exports of other marine finfish increased 7.2 per cent while mollusks and crabs and other crustaceans fell 5.3 per cent and 1.7 per cent, respectively, compared to the same period of 2015.

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