China’s seafood exports slip in first half 2014, imports up

Published on
August 29, 2014

China’s imports of seafood appear to have outpaced exports in growth terms in the first half of 2014, according to data from the ministry of agriculture in Beijing.

Exports totaled 1.86 million metric tons (MT), down 0.7 percent, but up 2.8 percent in value to USD 9.81 billion (EUR 7.4 billion). Imports climbed 10.3 percent to 2.27 million MT, worth USD 4.58 billion (EUR 3.5 billion), up 11.51 percent year on year.

An easing in the appreciation of the Chinese currency and improving export markets appear to have helped rather than hindered growth in value of total trade in the first six months as 4.14 million MT reached USD 14.4 billion (EUR 1.1 billion) — an increase of 4.98 percent and 5.06 percent respectively on the same period last year.

In the first quarter overall seafood trade totaled 1,974,400 MT, an increase of 2.22 percent. However, in value trade was flat year-on-year at USD 6.6 billion (EUR 5 billion). Exports amounted to 847,500 MT and USD 4.36 billion (EUR 3.3 billion), down 5.99 percent and 5.1 percent respectively. At 1,126,900 MT, imports were worth USD 2.23 billion (EUR 1.7 billion), up 9.4 percent and 11.45 percent, respectively.

It should be stressed that much of China’s imports go to reprocessing. Processing exports totaled 547,200 MT, worth USD 2.54 billion (EUR 1.9 billion), down 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent respectively. Processed exports accounted for a 25.9 percent share of total exports, down 0.4 percent over the same period last year.

In the non-processed segment, classed “general trade” export volumes totaled 1.25 million MT worth USD 7.18 billion (EUR 5.5 billion), an increase of 2.48 percent and 3.58 percent respectively. Cuttlefish, squid and shellfish and freshwater crayfish were cited as products doing well in export terms in the ministry of agriculture’s statement.

Shipments of large yellow croaker and eels are slowing. Due to the high incidence of disease in two consecutive years, vannamei shrimp production fell and rising domestic demand resulted in China moving from a net importer of shrimp into net exporter of shrimp and exports continued to decline sharply in the first half of this year. As for tilapia exports, trade continues to grow but the growth rate dropped significantly compared to the previous quarter.

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