Seafood exports decreased 28% year-on-year to nearly US$3.4 billion in the first five months of the year, according to the General Statistics Office.
Shrimp and prawn exports saw a decline in both volume and value due to weaker demand in major markets, and fiercer competition from Ecuador and India, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP) said.
According to experts, seafood exports will increase in the second half this year due to stronger demand the U.S. and the E.U., and smoother procedures for exports to China.
VNDirect Securities Corporation said the U.S. market, Vietnam’s second largest seafood market after Japan, would recover in the second half of the year thanks to cooling inflation, decreasing inventory levels and high demand during the year-end holidays, which will help Vietnam’s seafood export turnover to the U.S. surge by 40-50% year-on-year in the period.
“We saw signs of recovery in this market in May, when the average export price of basa tended to increase and U.S. inflation showed signs of cooling,” the corporation said.
Last month, the U.S. CPI was 4.9%, the lowest increase over the past two years and lower than market expectations.
Meanwhile, the E.U. market was stable because Europeans prefer Vietnamese white fish, especially basa, at a reasonable price amid high inflation. Many E.U. countries, including Sweden, Bulgaria, Germany and Finland imported more Vietnamese basa in the first quarter.
According to Le Hang, VASEP communications director, the Chinese market is expected to gradually rise up again this summer and the following months.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said it would work with the Chinese sides for smoother exports of Vietnamese seafood and fruit to China, including live seafood through the border gates of Yunnan province.
Vietnam’s seafood exports last year rose 23% to $11 billion, spearheaded by shrimp, basa and tuna, according to the VASEP. Its largest seafood export markets were the U.S., Japan, China and the E.U.