In 2022, Vietnam pangasius was the most prosperous export sector thanks to the largest increase in average export prices and more market opportunities compared to other commodities. By the end of October, pangasius exports nationwide had reached more than 2.1 billion USD. Compared to the same period last year, pangasius exports increased by 77% – the highest growth rate in recent years and also the highest rate compared to other industries.
Frozen pangasius fillets tend to be imported more strongly than fresh/frozen whole fish. Accordingly, this year, this key product line accounted for 86.5% of the total pangasius export value, reaching nearly $1.9 billion, up 79%; value added pangasius products accounted for 1.5%, reaching 32.7 million USD.
The structure of the pangasius import market this year has changed in proportion. Notably, the increasingly important role of the Chinese market. By the end of October, China accounted for nearly 30% of Vietnam’s pangasius export value with over 638 million USD. This is also the market with the most breakthrough growth in pangasius imports, up 106%.
The US is still the second largest pangasius importer, but the proportion of this market decreased compared to the previous year. In the first 10 months of 2022, Vietnam pangasius exports to the US accounted for nearly 23%, reaching $491 million. The export growth of 70% was a breakthrough in the first half of the year, when the US economy had not yet absorbed the blow of inflation.
According to statistics of the US Department of Agriculture, in the first 9 months of 2022, the US imported 104.5 thousand tons of frozen pangasius fillets from Vietnam, worth US$445 million, up 24% in volume and 91% in value compared with the same period last year. The average import price of frozen pangasius fillets to the US reached $4.26/kg, up 53%. Compared to other seafood products imported from Vietnam into the US, pangasius has the highest price increase.
Recently, the United States Department of Agriculture is asking seafood suppliers to bid for 543,000 pounds of pollock and 154,000 pounds of domestic catfish. This fish stock will be used for the National School Lunch Program and other Federal Food and Nutritional Assistance Programs. Tenders for the supply of catfish were due on November 25. The USDA has given a lot of support to domestic seafood this year to support producers after the COVID-19 crisis devastated the seafood industry.
The EU also recorded an impressive growth in Vietnamese pangasius imports over the past time, up 103% to US$173 million. The strong recovery of the EU has made the EU’s market share increase from 7% to 8% of the total export value of Vietnamese pangasius. Key markets in the bloc are the Netherlands, up 72%, Germany up 182% and Belgium up 94%.
An important market in Europe, the UK, although the import value of pangasius still increased by 32% to nearly USD 55 million, but the proportion decreased compared to the previous year. Being in the group of G7 countries, the UK is the slowest recovery market after Covid, and was heavily affected by inflation and the energy and food crisis due to the war between Russia and Ukraine, so the demand for seafood products, even medium or affordable price seafood, also declined.
The CPTPP market still holds the proportion of 13% of Vietnam’s pangasius exports with 282 million USD, up 74% over the same period last year. Of which, the weight remains in Mexico and Canada with sales of $92 million and $50 million in the past 10 months, respectively. These two markets both increased imports of Vietnamese pangasius sharply, up 67% and 88% over the same period.
Although the cumulative results in the first 10 months of the year were quite positive, from the end of the third quarter to the fourth quarter, the decline trend in markets was clearly reflected in pangasius export sales. Accordingly, in October, pangasius exports only reached 179 million USD, the lowest level since the Lunar New Year and also the lowest growth since the beginning of the year. There are still many markets that increase pangasius imports, but there are also many markets with a decrease in value such as the US down 11%, Canada down 3%, Colombia down 26%…
Those are signs that inflation is strongly affecting the market demand, which will affect pangasius consumption not only at the end of 2022 but can last until 2023.
However, Vietnam’s pangasius export industry is still proud of the record sales of over 2.4 billion USD that will be achieved by the end of 2022.
Compiled by Thuy Linh