February 21, 2013


Vietnam's pangasius, shrimp exports decline in January



Pangasius (tra fish) and shrimp exports in Vietnam have had a slow start in 2013, with pangasius sales earning only US$63.38 million by mid-January, at an on-year drop of 20.7%.


This is according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).


Exports have plummeted for major markets such as the EU, the US, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Mexico and Brazil. This, in combination with unpredictable domestic prices and tra farmers' lack of capital, is expected to bring just US$230 million from pangasius exports in first quarter.


For shrimp, around 30% of the total 300 shrimp exporting firms that contributed 36-38% of the country's seafood export value have stopped operating due to the lack of capital, price hikes of raw materials and a diminishing market share. Meanwhile, the remaining businesses have been operating at just half capacity, the news agency reports.


Seafood exports in general are expected to fall in the first quarter of 2013 by 13% to US$1.15 billion, Thoi Bao Kinh Te Vietnam reports.


VASEP has forecast three scenarios for 2013's shrimp exports: revenue will reach US$2.4 billion if Vietnam resolves the early mortality syndrome (EMS) issue, the competition in buying raw materials, export market and the ethoxyquin barrier in Japan and Korea. It will be US$2.2 billion if EMS and the ethoxyquin barrier are solved and US$1.9 billion otherwise.


Chairman of VASEP's Shrimp Committee Ho Quoc Luc said the US$2.4 billion forecast was unlikely. As shrimp output may fall by 20-30% in first quarter, shrimp exports are estimated at US$360 million, down 18-20% on-year. Enterprises are anticipating that exports will bring back US$1.9 billion in 2013 in light of the disease outbreaks since 2011. For now, Ho Quoc Luc said, shrimp farmers need the government's help because they (and processors) lack mortgages to borrow loans.


General Director Nguyen Van Dao of the Go Dang JC company said tra consumption and demand are growing in new markets like Asia and America in addition to traditional markets such as Europe and the Middle East.


The US was the biggest buyer of Vietnamese seafood in the first month of 2013, according to the Seafood Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). In January, sales reached around US$376 million, up 3.5% against the same period in 2012.


Seafood export revenues from the US in January accounted for 19.15%, followed by Japan (17.81%) and Korea (8.36%). Vietnam is hoping to reach US$6.4 billion in seafood sales abroad in 2013, for which MARD has asked the aquaculture sector to prioritise the main exports, such as shrimps, pangasius and tuna.

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