Will global shrimp prices ease?

Global shrimp prices, which reached historic highs last year, are expected to decline “a little bit” in the coming months, predicted Dr. Panisuan Jamnarnwej, president of the Thai Frozen Foods Association, at the International Boston Seafood Show on Monday.

Dr. Panisuan said the global shrimp market would likely resist higher shrimp prices, adding that the industry would likely be forced to absorb the higher commodity and fuel prices that it’s dealing with now.

Dr. Panisuan also addressed the situation in Japan, the world’s No. 1 single seafood market. He said he expects Japan to increase its imports of shrimp, but it’s too early to say when that will happen. “Japanese customers will need more [shrimp] to replenish [inventories], but we don’t know when,” he explained. “There are still a lot of unknowns.”

Japan is Thailand’s No. 2 market for raw shrimp, behind the United States. China is No. 3 and Spain is No. 4, markets that are “coming up fast,” said Dr. Panisuan.

Thailand is the world’s No. 1 shrimp exporter; it exporter 400,000 metric tons of shrimp in 2010. Shrimp production in Thailand has increased 4 to 5 percent annually over the past six years.


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