Shrimp supply outlook muddy as holidays near
By Steven Hedlund, SeafoodSource editor
30 September, 2009 -
As the weather cools off and the market heats up, U.S. shrimp buyers are assessing the supply situation and fulfilling last-minute needs for the frantic holiday season. Orders placed in the summer are now arriving. U.S. shrimp imports usually peak this month, topping 144.3 million pounds last October.
Will they reach that mark this year? Maybe. Through July, U.S. shrimp imports were on par with the first seven months of 2008, down just 0.8 percent, at 616.2 million pounds, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.
That’s encouraging, given that the supply situation in Asia, where a majority of the U.S. shrimp supply originates, is muddy.
In Thailand, shrimp production dropped 15 percent in the first quarter, according to the Thai Shrimp Farmers Association, is projected to total 392,000 metric tons this year, down from 490,000 metric tons last year.
Shrimp farmers in parts of Bangladesh and India are still reeling from Cyclone Aila in May.
In Indonesia, an appreciating rupiah against the U.S. dollar is hindering the export market, even as the country’s shrimp production, which totaled 300,000 metric tons last year, is expected to jump 20 to 30 percent this year. What’s more, Indonesia is unable fulfill about 30 percent of its shrimp export orders due to supply shortages at the farm level, an industry spokesman told Asia Pulse this week.
And in Vietnam, 8 percent of the country’s farming area was not prepared for the new season by the end of March, especially in Ca Mau and Bac Lieu provinces, where many processing plants were forced to reduce shrimp production by 35 to 40 percent. However, vannamei production is on the upswing in Vietnam’s southern provinces and may reach 100,000 metric tons this year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
In late September in the United States, shell-on, head-off Asian-raised vannamei was priced in the mid-USD 4 range for 16-20s, high-USD 3 range for 21-25s and 26-30s, low-USD 3 range for 31-35s and high-USD 2 range for 36-40s and 41-50s.
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