Following the growth in the fourth quarter of 2021, Vietnam’s crab exports continued to grow well in the first quarter of 2022. The value of crab exports in this quarter reached nearly USD 52 million, up 62% over the same period in 2021. This is the highest level in the past 5 years, doubling compared to the same period in 2019, the time before the Covid-19 pandemic.
The top 4 single import markets include China, the US, Japan, and France, accounting for more than 91% of the total crab export value.
After a decline in 2021, Vietnam’s crab exports to China and Hong Kong increased in the first 3 months of 2022 reaching more than 20 million USD, up 104% over the same period. The main reason is that Vietnam’s seafood processing and exporting enterprises have adapted rather well to the market’s “zero Covid” policy. This high growth has made China the largest crab import market from Vietnam.
Vietnam’s crab exports to Japan are also continuing to grow this quarter. The value of crab exports to this market reached nearly 19 million USD, up 18% over the same period. Japan is currently the largest importer of Vietnamese crabs in the CPTPP. And also the country that maintained the continuous growth of crab imports in the first 3 months of 2022. Meanwhile, crab exports to Australia and Singapore had a continuous decline in this quarter.
For the EU market, Vietnam’s crab exports also recovered after a decline last year. However, exports to markets in the bloc are not stable. France is currently the largest crab import market of Vietnam in this market block, reaching nearly 1.7 million USD, up 38%.
In the EU crab market, Vietnamese crab exporters have to compete with products from the UK, Norway, Madagascar, China, and Indonesia, including lobster and surimi.
Notably, Vietnam’s crab exports to the US grew continuously in the first 3 months of 2022. Vietnam’s crab export value to this market in the first quarter of 2022 reached nearly 19 million USD, up 78% over the same period. The US has fully reopened, which has helped increase demand for crabs. In addition, increased production costs and sea transportation costs have pushed up export prices.
Crab imports to the US in the first quarter of this year decreased, mainly due to the impact of the US government’s ban on importing seafood including crabs from Russia. Russia accounts for 30% of total imports of snow crab and 90% of total imports of king crab from the US. Vietnam’s crab exporters can also take advantage of this opportunity to maintain exports to the US. In the first three months of this year, the US reduced imports of frozen red king crab by 9% from Russia with 3,403 tons. In March this year, the US imported 257 tons of snow crab from Russia, worth $5.8 million, down 86% in volume and 84% in value compared to March last year.