India is top exporter of shrimp to US for fourth straight year

Published on
February 1, 2019

India is once again the top country of origin for shrimp entering the United States.

India outpaced Indonesia, Thailand, and Ecuador to take the title for most shrimp exports to the U.S. for the fourth straight year.

Thirty-two percent of all shrimp imported into the U.S. came from India, and India continues to build market share, as it realized a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.2 percent between 2014 and 2017, outpacing total U.S. shrimp demand CAGR growth of 7.1 percent, according to India’s Business Standard.

Shrimp exports to the U.S. were up 16 percent in 2018 over 2017 through November, despite lower prices due to a high supply volume, according to ShrimpTails magazine. The anomaly may be due to the expansion of the U.S. Seafood Import Monitoring Program to cover shrimp in 2019. 

“As all markets that export shrimp to the U.S. will have to adhere to the requirements set out by SIMP, it seems inevitable that importers and their suppliers are trying to move as much product into the country as they can before it takes effect,” analysts Willem van der Pijl and Ken Salzinger wrote. “Especially for a country like India, which deals with tens of thousands of small-scale farmers, exporters are struggling to trace shrimp all the way back to the original farm, which is part of the requirements under SIMP.”

ICRA Limited, an India-focused investment advisory firm, warned that SIMP could cause India’s share of the U.S. market to fall in 2019.

“Despite the robust growth in shrimp imports from India, the country faces stiff competition from Indonesia and Ecuador, whose export contribution during 10 months of FY 2018 has increased, supported by the increasing shrimp production in the respective countries,” the rating agency said. 

ICRA Vice President and Sector Head for Corporate Sector Ratings Pavethra Ponniah, vice president and sector head predicted in a recent note that increasing competition could lead to further gluts of shrimp in the U.S. market, and continued low prices.

“Going forward, Indian exporters face stiff competition from Ecuador, Indonesia and Vietnam,” Ponniah wrote, according to the Business Standard. “A strong uptick in major shrimp production since CY 2017 has intensified competition amongst leading global shrimp exporting nations. ICRA expects increasing shrimp production amongst the top shrimp-producing nations to cause demand-supply mismatches inducing volatile in prices."

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