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Market Reports

September 10, 2014
 
Prices of Vietnam's black tiger shrimp rising, but most farmers still for white leg
                                         
An eFeedLink Exclusive
 
 
Price summary
 
The price for larger-sized giant black tiger prawn has begun to pick up in Vietnam, with the 20-pieces-per-kg size up by VND10,000 (US$ 0.47) per kg in first week of August.
 
On the other hand, prices of the smaller sizes - those from 30 pcs/kg and 40 pcs/kg - went up by only VND5,000 (US$ 0.23) a kg in the same period.
 

Price of giant tiger prawn in Ca Mau  (Expressed in VND1,000/kg*)

Category (pcs/ kg)

Aug 15

Aug 22

20

275

275

30

225

230

40

205

205

*VND1, 000 = US$0.0474 as of Aug 22, 2014
Source: Casep (Ca Mau Association of Seafood Exporter & Producer) 

 
The same trend was observed in the price of white-leg shrimp. Its smaller sizes rose by only VND1,000 (US$0.0474) to VND8,000 (US$ 0.37) per kilogramme during the same period last month while the bigger sizes were consistently on the rise in the first three weeks of the month before it slightly dropped by VND3,000 (US$ 0.14) a kilogramme towards the end of the month.
  

Price of giant tiger prawn in Ca Mau  (Expressed in VND1,000/kg*)

Category (pcs/ kg)

Aug 15

Aug 22

60

129

126

70

126

132

80

120

128

90

112

117

100

108

113

*VND1, 000 = US$0.0474 as of Aug 22, 2014
Source: Casep (Ca Mau Association of Seafood Exporter & Producer) 

             
                                                                
Market Analysis
 
The new price trend, of course, is dictated by the demand in the US, the main destination for Vietnam's shrimp shipments.
 
Until lately, shrimp supply in the US was tight because of production shortfalls from leading producers like Thailand due to the early mortality syndrome (EMS) epidemic. This made shrimp very expensive in the US, leaving most American consumers no choice but to shift to smaller sizes whose prices weren't that prohibitive.
 
Demand for smaller sizes then was so high that their prices were moving up on a weekly basis. Meanwhile, due to poor demand, prices for the bigger sizes were moving in the opposite direction.
 
With shrimp supply now stabilising in the US, demand for premium sizes is slowly coming back, giving Vietnamese black tiger shrimp farmers renewed hope - to the dismay, however, of whiteleg shrimp farmers.
 
According to a farmer in Tien Giang province, the current price of giant tiger prawn is about VND125,000 (US$5.90) a kg on the average. With this price, farmers earn from VND45,000 (US$ 2.12) to VND90,000 (US$ 4.25) per kg.
 
In all, this means total earnings of VND200 million (US$ 9,445) to VND450 million (US$ 21,251) per hectare for a farmer, depending on the size of the shrimp at the time of the harvest, per cropping that takes about four to five months.
 
Vietnamese farmers, however, have found cultivation of whiteleg shrimp more profitable than black tiger prawn cultivation.
 
With the price now averaging VND70,000 (US$3.30) per kg, a whiteleg shrimp farmer gets to earn VND350million (US$ 16,528) to VND 650 million (US$ 30,696) a hectare.
 
In a tiger prawn pond stocking density needs to be lighter to keep the animals grow healthy. In whiteleg shrimp farms, density can be doubled without any problem to the crop. The result - a whiteleg shrimp farmer gets more yields from his farm compared to those cultivating giant tiger prawn. Besides, while it takes four to five months to grow black tiger shrimp to good size, it takes only about three months for whiteleg shrimp to become marketable.
 
Because of lower profitability, production giant tiger prawn has been on the decline, data from Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development show.
 
In the first eight months of 2014, Bac Lieu province in the Mekong Delta region produced only 34,617 tonnes of black tiger shrimp, down 7.3% year-on. Ben Tre province in the same period produced only 6,244 tonnes, down 27.4% year-on.
 
Outputs in Ho Chi Minh City and Ba Ria-Vung Tau also fell nearly 7% in the same preiod.
 
 
Market Forecast
 
With the US shrimp market slowly returning to normal, Vietnam expects its crustacean exports to reach US$3 billion this year, with whiteleg shrimp growing in both quantity and US buyers' attention, thanks to continuing troubles in Thailand's white-shrimp industry.
 

 

 

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