China seafood export growth beats domestic market

The value of China’s seafood exports appears to be growing much faster than growth in volumes, suggesting a shift up the value chain amid growing international demand. Meanwhile data from the ministry of agriculture shows growth in export prices appears to be outstripping growth in domestic prices for seafood.

Data provided to SeafoodSource by the Provincial Oceanic and Fishery Bureau in the key aquaculture producing province of Liaoning (which is also home to the processing hub and port city of Dalian) shows from January to September 2013 seafood producers in the region tallied exports at 537,600 metric tons (MT) worth USD 2 billion (EUR 1.6 billion), up 2.3 percent and 11.3 percent respectively, according to the fishery bureau’s data. Imports at 716,900 MT were up 3.3 percent in volume terms and up 8.6 percent in value terms, to USD 1.1 billion (EUR 880.6 million).

These figures match a pattern set in data for the first half of the year when Liaoning’s exports of aquatic products totaled 36.4 million MT worth USD 1.3 billion (EUR 1 billion), an increase of 2.6 percent and 11.5 percent, respectively.

In the January to August period China produced 33.1 MT of aquatic products, up 3.1 percent over the same period in the previous year according to China’s Ministry of Agriculture. Average wholesale prices at RMB 21.60 (USD 3.53, EUR 2.83)/kg, up 3.16 percent year-on-year. The volume of aquatic products sold at China’s wholesale markets rose 1.03 percent with turnover up 1.09 percent.

China’s domestic demand for seafood remains strong but there are many worries about a softening in the economy due to slower manufacturing growth and a cooling real estate market. China’s GDP grew 7.3 percent in the third quarter of 2014, 0.2 percentage points less than the second quarter, but largely in line with a government annual target of 7.5 percent.

Elsewhere, China continue to seek to ramp up seafood exports through a bigger pelagic catch. A key export-focused fish processing hub, Ningbo in Zhejiang Province from January to September this year shipped USD 592.6 million (EUR 474.5 million), an increase of 14.91 percent, according to the Ningbo Fisheries Association. Drivers of growth, the association said, were whole and processed tuna (particularly bonito) fish, which totaled 38,000 MT in the period, an increase of 63.2 percent year on year. Tuna shipments rose over 70 percent in value terms, worth USD 172 million in the period. Other key exports include sea cucumber, eel, frozen surimi and fish filets.


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