By the end of 2023, Vietnam’s shrimp exports reached 3.4 billion USD, down 21% compared to 2022. The decrease in export figures reflects a year of challenges for Vietnam’s shrimp industry.
In 2023, after a continuous decline in the first months of the year, Vietnam’s shrimp exports to the US grew by 2 digit growhts from July until the end of the year. In this year, shrimp exports to the US reached 682 million USD, down 15% compared to 2022.
Additionally, US shrimp import data in November 2023 recorded the 5th consecutive month of growth. Declining inventories, better indicators of the US economy, higher demand for the end of the year. Inflation in the US fell sharply in 2023. By November 2023, inflation dropped to 3.1%, from a peak of 9.1% in June 2022. The US Federal Reserve (FED) has issued messages to stop raising interest rates and consider lowering these rates in 2024.
Vietnam’s shrimp exports to the US will increase slightly in 2024 as food demand improves, inflation cools down, and retail sales in the US recover.
Despite the positive indicators, the U.S. remains wary of geopolitical risks, including the conflict in Ukraine, which could potentially disrupt grain markets and push inflation up. In the Middle East, Israel the conflict with Hamas is expected to drag on for months, raising the risk of escalation in the region.
Recently, the American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA) filed a request to investigate anti-subsidy duties on imported shrimp, including Vietnam. It is not clear what the results are, but Vietnam’s shrimp exports to the US will be affected in the first half of 2024. In addition, the Red Sea tension in early 2024, causing sea freight rates to increase to the US, is also a barrier for export enterprises to the US in 2024.
Shrimp exports to the Japanese market in 2023 continuously declined due to high inflation, a sharp decline in the Yen, affecting the purchasing decisions of Japanese importers. In 2023, shrimp exports to this market reached 511 million USD, down 24% compared to 2022. In the last month of 2023, shrimp exports to this market recorded an increase of 6% over the same period in 2022.
This market is assessed to have a lot of potential and will recover sooner than other major markets such as the US and EU in 2024. In the US and EU, simply-processed-shrimp from India and Ecuador with cheap prices is having an advantage over Vietnam. Japanese consumers require products to be delicious, nutritious, beautiful, elaborately and meticulously processed, suitable to the processing capacity of Vietnam. Popular exported shrimp products from Vietnam to Japan include flour bagged shrimp, stretched shrimp, fried shrimp, sushi shrimp … Vietnamese shrimp still retains a good competitive advantage in this market.
In addition, the Japanese market is geographically closer than the US, EU and payment methods are also safer.
In 2023, the Russia-Ukraine war, consumers saving money, rising prices, rising gasoline, and depreciating EUR are the reasons for slow demand in this market. People chose cheap food, smaller shrimp, importers limited buying to free up inventory and limit losses. In 2023, Vietnam’s shrimp exports to the EU reached 421 million USD, down 39% compared to 2022.
Vietnam’s competitors in the EU market include Ecuador and India. In this market, Vietnamese shrimp still retains its dominance in the high-end segment.
The competitiveness of Ecuadorian shrimp is also getting stronger. Given the current economic and political uncertainties, EU markets will not be able to recover for much of 2024. However, it is expected that demand will remain steady, with no further decline.
In 2023, shrimp exports to China were in a general downtrend, but China is the market with the least decline among the main import markets. In 2023, Vietnam’s shrimp exports to China & HK reached 607 million USD, down 8% compared to 2022.
China’s shrimp import demand still increased strongly, but because there were too many suppliers “rushing” into this market with low asking prices. Therefore, Vietnamese shrimp is difficult to compete on price.
The COVID-19 pandemic ended, China’s economy has positive signals, shrimp demand has recovered. The geographical location is favorable for Vietnamese export enterprises to China in terms of logistics costs. In the first months of 2024, shrimp exports to this market may recover slightly.
The Red Sea conflict increases sea freight rates, which may cause Ecuador to reduce exports to China due to the pressure of rising shipping costs. This could be an opportunity for Vietnamese shrimp in the Chinese market.
In 2023, Vietnamese shrimp faced high inflation, reduced purchasing power and shrimp prices, and fierce competition from Ecuador and India. In the last months of 2023, businesses receive bad news from the US market. That is, the US initiated an anti-subsidy investigation into Vietnam’s frozen warmwater shrimp. It is not clear what the results are, but Vietnamese shrimp exports to the US will be affected. In early 2024, Red Sea tension increases sea freight rates. The recovery momentum for shrimp exports will still face many difficulties in 2024, which requires Vietnamese shrimp enterprises to make more efforts to overcome difficulties on the recovery journey. It is forecast that shrimp export turnover in 2024 will reach about 4 billion USD, up 5% compared to 2023.