In May 2023, exports to major markets still dropped by double digits. Only exports to smaller markets such as the UK and Taiwan recorded positive growth. In May 2023, China ranked first in importing Vietnamese shrimp, accounting for 23%. The US ranked second, accounting for 21%.
As of May this year, China and the US have steadily increased export turnover, higher than the previous month. Shrimp exports to the Chinese market in May still recorded negative growth but the decrease was less than in previous months (March recorded a decrease of 40%, April decreased by 22%, May decreased by 11%).
The US market also has a similar trend to the Chinese market. According to data from the US Department of Commerce, in the first 4 months of 2023, shrimp imports into the US reached 521 million pounds (about 236,039 tons), down 18% compared to the same period in 2022. April 2023, imported some shrimp products Vietnam’s imports into the US recorded growth compared to March 2023 such as raw shrimp with shell increased by 211% compared to March 2023, peeled raw shrimp increased by 46%, steamed shrimp and powdered shrimp increased 13% and 20% respectively.
Diseases and wars lead to a global economic downturn and an increase in inflation. Consumers become more cautious in spendings, reduce spendings, and choose more affordable products. This caused demand for shrimp to decrease while shrimp supply, especially from Ecuador and India, is increasing. Countries such as Indonesia and Ecuador harvest shrimp early with a successful shrimp production in both quantity and size, directly competing with Vietnamese shrimp. These countries are also supplying at a cheaper price than Vietnamese shrimp from 1-2 USD/kg, making it difficult for Viet shrimp exporters to find orders. Meanwhile, the domestic price of raw shrimp has decreased continuously in recent months, affecting the whole shrimp industry.
In the first 5 months of 2023, Vietnam’s shrimp export turnover reached 1.2 billion USD, down 34% over the same period last year.
In the current difficult context, the business community hopes that the State Bank will continue to pay attention and consider a demand stimulus package of 10,000 billion VND for aquaculture in the Mekong Delta. If they can access credit, it will help shrimp exporters to buy raw materials for export from now on for 3-6 months in 2023 and in the first quarter of 2024. Implemented stimulus early will help calm shrimp farmers, help them continue stocking instead of hanging ponds.
Vietnamese shrimp is increasingly less competitive compared to Ecuador, India. To raise commercial shrimp with low cost and high success rate, we must have close coordination among stakeholders in the industry chain. This entails collaboration between companies that produce high-quality shrimp seeds, offer affordable and top-notch feed, and provide farming products at reasonable prices.
The whole shrimp industry is also waiting for the Government and ministries to have solutions to remove difficulties for the industry in terms of cost reduction, loan interest reduction, electricity bills, simplification of administrative procedures, fire prevention regulations, etc.
With the current challenges, processing enterprises must review production costs and cut unnecessary costs. Simultaneously, enterprises need to focus on developing more value-added products with better profit margins (such as sushi, breaded shrimp, tempura, instant shrimp…), special products such as shrimps raised extensively in the ecological forest system to supply the high-end market segment.
In addition to large markets with low demand, businesses should look to small markets such as in Asia (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Switzerland …) with better purchasing power.
Source: Vasep, 2023