Positive trends for surimi, crabs, tuna in the last months of 2023

By the end of November 2023, Vietnam’s seafood exports reached over 8.2 billion USD, down 20% over the same period in 2022. It is estimated that seafood exports in December reach nearly 800 million USD, equivalent to November, bringing the total seafood exports for 2023 to about 9 billion USD, 17% lower than the record level of nearly 11 billion USD of 2022.

Particularly in November 2023, seafood exports surpassed 790 million USD, a slight increase over the same period in 2022. Some industries showed positive signs in November with higher export turnover over the same period, the highest level since the beginning of the year. These are crabs products with sales of 26 million USD in November, up 18% over the same period last year, the highest level since the beginning of the year. This is also the 2nd consecutive month crab exports achieved positive growth with 2 digits, after increasing by 25% in October. However, accumulated in the first 11 months of the year, crab exports remained 10% lower than the same period, reaching over 187 million USD.

Sales of marine fish products (excluding tuna) also reached the highest level since the beginning of the year with nearly 174 million USD in November, down slightly by 2% compared to the same period last year. Export products from this group has brought in over 1.7 billion USD worth of sales in the first 11 months of the year, down slightly by 8% compared to the same period in 2022.

In particular, exports of fish paste and surimi products (mainly from marine fish) reached nearly 280 million USD in the first 11 months of the year, down 27% compared to the same period last year. Surimi exports in November also got a positive trend, reaching over $27 million, the highest since June 2023.

In the past 5 years, each year Vietnam earned 300-420 million USD from exported surimi products, including marine fish surimi and pangasius surimi, accounting for 4-5% of Vietnam’s total seafood export turnover. Among hundreds of frozen, processed, fresh, live, dried seafood products, surimi is a segment having enormous potential for further development because of domestic fisheries’ characteristics and increasing global consumption.

With the aim of cooperating, supporting each other to improve the value and quality of Vietnam’s surimi and fishmeal products, cooperating closely for mutual benefit in the implementation of issues related to raw materials, quality, environmental responsibility, social responsibility, markets, barriers and policies, on 22 December 2023 Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) organized the “Surimi and Fishmeal Industry Conference – Establishment of the VASEP Surimi and Fishmeal Business Club”.

The Surimi and Fishmeal Business Club will further promote the role of economic development of the industry and the local economy, as well as increase jobs and livelihoods for the local farming and fishing communities. The club is committed to always pioneer circular economy development, sustainable development of seafood supply chains through strict compliance with environmental, labor, social responsibility regulations, especially regulations against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Tuna is also a product with positive export signals in the second half of this year. In November alone, tuna exports reached nearly 79 million USD, up 23% over the same period in 2022. In 2023, canned tuna and frozen steamed tuna loin are the two Vietnam’s tuna products with higher import demand compared to 2022, offsetting the decline in other product segments such as fresh fish, frozen fish fillet. By the end of November, Vietnam’s tuna exports reached 772 million USD, down 19% over the same period in 2022.

Cephalopods exports in November decreased by 5% compared to the same period, the least decline this year, with sales exceeding 64 million USD, the 2nd highest level after peaking at nearly 67 million USD in August – this is considered a positive sign compared to other industries. Accumulated in 11 months, exports of cephalopods reached over 601 million USD, down 14% over the previous year.

Although pangasius exports in November were 6% higher than the same period, this number did not reflect the trend as exports significantly dropped compared to previous months, and the comparative level of 2022 was already low. By the end of November, pangasius exports reached nearly 1.7 billion USD, down 27% over the same period last year. It is estimated that in 2023, this industry will bring in 1.8 billion USD.

Similar to pangasius, shrimp exports in November hit the lowest level since May 2023, down by 5% from the same period in 2022. Accumulated in 11 months, shrimp exports reached 3.1 billion USD, with an estimated total of about $3.4 billion USD for the whole year.

The downward trend of seafood products, especially shrimp and pangasius has not ended, and might be until the second half of 2024 the exports to recover gradually. Therefore, exports of these two product categories might not have a breakthrough in the last months of 2023 and early 2024. However, there is hope that in 2024, the seafood export will overcome consumption difficulties and the cycle of decline, showing more positive signals.

(Source https://seafood.vasep.com.vn/)

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