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Vietnam shrimp exports head to increase in May amid Covid-19 pandemic

May 27, 2020 | 09:19

Vietnam shrimp exports in April experienced an increase of 5.8% to US$244.2 million, boosting the total export turnover during the opening four months of the year by 2.9% on-year to US$872.8 million, while shrimp exports are expected to continue their growth into May, according to Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers.

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vietnam shrimp exports head to increase in may amid covid 19 pandemic
Vietnam shrimp exports expected increase in May. Photo: customsnew.

Shrimp exports of Vietnam have witnessed a significant increase in the potential international market in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Increase in potential international importers

Accounting for 21% of the total shrimp export value of Vietnam, Japan is the largest shrimp importer of Vietnam in the first quarter of 2020. Vietnam's shrimp exports to Japan reached nearly 132 million USD in the first three months of 2020, up 8.4% compared to the first quarter of 2019, Mseafood cited. Vietnamese shrimp exports to Japan rose by 19% in April to a figure of US$48.6 million, representing an annual surge of 11% to US$180.5 million against the same period from last year.

vietnam shrimp exports head to increase in may amid covid 19 pandemic
Shrimp exports of Vietnam are expected to be strong. Photo: congthuong.vn.

The US is the second-largest importer for Vietnamese shrimp imports. Over the four-month period, the US imported shrimp products with a value of US$158.7 million from the country, an on-year increase of 17%. Indeed, shrimp exports to the US during April enjoyed an increase of 14% to over US$43.2 million, while the US represents the only market to record positive growth in terms of importing Vietnamese shrimp during the first four months of the year. This was the best growth among the top 5 main shrimp importers of Vietnam.

Notably, shrimp exports to the major markets of the Netherlands and Belgium grew positively after experiencing a downward trajectory during March. Shrimp exports to China alsso enjoyed an increase of 16.6% to US$39.2 million, a rise of 16.6% in comparison to April last year.

Major international competitors in shrimp export

According to VASEP, India is the largest shrimp supplier to the US, which is also a major competitor of Vietnamese shrimp in the US market. However, India is facing many difficulties due to Covid-19 epidemic. A blockade to curb the outbreak of coronavirus in India, which began on March 23, had negatively affected the country's production in the peak month (March) for stocking of the summer season.

vietnam shrimp exports head to increase in may amid covid 19 pandemic
Shrimps in Vietnam. Photo: mard.gov.vn.

Shrimp farmers in India have difficulty in supplying and transporting shrimp seeds while the output is leveled off, there is no shrimp caregiver because of the blockade, the price of raw shrimp has dropped deeply. Due to the lockdown, some Indian processing plants are only able to operate 50% of the number of workers. Therefore, the overview of India shrimp exports to the US is devastated.

Opportunities and challenges of Covid-19 pandemic to Vietnam shrimp exports

The Covid-19 epidemic spread widely in the US starting in March 2020, causing the import of goods including shrimp into this market to be delayed. Import demand also dropped due to a sharp decline in consumption in the food service segment as the US Government imposed disease control measures. However, the demand for shrimp in the retail segment has increased to meet the essential needs of consumer. Enterprises exports to this market should focus on deep-processing, value-added products such as easy-to-peel shrimps... to conform to the demand of this segment, vnexplorer highlighted.

Additionally, Vietnam's shrimp exports to the EU, South Korea and China in March 2020 declined by 16%, 6.3% and 6.4% respectively, compared to March 2019 due to the impact of coronavirus.

vietnam shrimp exports head to increase in may amid covid 19 pandemic
VASEP expects local shrimp exporters to seize opportunities and boost shrimp exports. Photo: vir.com.

The situation of the pandemic is not yet known as to how long it will last. However, shrimp is in the essential food group at a reasonable price, so the demand will be improved in the domestic and international market in the coming time. Vietnamese shrimp is expected to enjoy bright prospects due to the major rivals such as India, Ecuador, and Thailand encountering difficulties due to the national lockdown imposed by several countries globally.

vietnam shrimp exports head to increase in may amid covid 19 pandemic
The upcoming European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is poised to offer a great boost to the Vietnamese shrimp industry. Photo: VNA.

Moreover, the anti-epidemic situation of Covid-19 in China and South Korea is getting better and there will be more hope for farmers and processing plants. When major producing countries such as India and Ecuador are facing difficulties in production due to pandemics and weather, Vietnam needs to ensure the supply of raw materials and production to catch up when the epidemic is under control. When the main shrimp importers are implementing stimulus packages, the demand for shrimp will increase and it is expected that the price will increase.

In addition, the upcoming European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is poised to offer a great boost to the Vietnamese shrimp industry as it enhances its competitiveness in the EU market, whilst simultaneously the sector will also enjoy low import taxes to the US market.

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