Vietnam grows shrimp exports, despite decline in US sales and shortage of larger sizes

Shrimp being farmed in Vietnam.

Lower demand from the United States and a shortage of larger-sized shrimp did not cool Vietnam’s shrimp exports in August 2022.

The country’s overall shrimp sales in August reached USD 398 million (EUR 402.7 million), up 41 percent year-on-year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP). Through the first eight months of 2022, Vietnam’s shrimp exports are up 24 percent year-on-year in value, totaling more than USD 3 billion (EUR 3.04 billion).

VASEP said shrimp sales from Vietnam to the U.S. began slowing in May and dropped continuously from June to August.

In August, Vietnam sold USD 68 million (EUR 68.8 million) worth of shrimp to the U.S., down 27 percent from a year prior. The sales to the U.S. over January-August also fell 9 percent year-on-year to more than USD 619 million (EUR 626.7 million).

The decrease in Vietnam’s sales is in line with a broad decline in overall U.S. shrimp imports thus far in 2022. The U.S. imported a total of 148.9 million pounds in July 2022, or 67,557 metric tons (MT), down from 167.7 million pounds (76,080 MT) in July 2021. Nevertheless, the U.S. remained Vietnam’s top shrimp market, accounting for 20 percent of Vietnam’s exports by value.

In contrast with a drop in U.S. exports, Vietnam’s shrimp shipments to Japan skyrocketed 120 percent in August 2022, reaching USD 67 million (EUR 67.8 million) in value. Through the first eight months of 2022, Japan’s imports of Vietnamese shrimp were up 21 percent year-on-year to reach USD 463 million (EUR 468.9 million). The Japanese market growth has come as many Vietnam-based shrimp companies seek out markets with a preference for value-added products, a segment in which Vietnam industry players believe they hold an advantage over rivals from Ecuador and India, VASEP said. The country’s ability to supply deeply processed, high-quality shrimp has helped Vietnam become the top shrimp-exporting country to Japan, South Korea, the U.K., and Australia, the second-largest seller of shrimp in the E.U., and the fourth-largest supplier to the U.S., according to Fimex (Sao Ta) Chairman Ho Quoc Luc.

Thus far in 2022, Vietnam’s sales of processed shrimp has outpaced those of its fresh and frozen shrimp, VASEP said. Vannamei have accounted for 75 percent of Vietnam’s exports by value in 2022, with black tiger shrimp making up 14 percent of the total and wild-caught shrimp accounting for 11 percent. Vietnam’s wild-caught shrimp sales have soared 78 percent year-on-year in 2022, with its sales of vannamei up 21 percent and its black tiger shrimp sales up 11 percent. The year-over-year high growth is partially the result of weak figures from 2021, when the country’s industry was impeded by lockdowns implemented to curb a nationwide COVID-19 outbreak.

This year, the biggest challenge facing Vietnam’s shrimp companies has been ... 

Photo courtesy of Son Truong/Shutterstock

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