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Covid-19 impact on exports of live, fresh tuna
April 22, 2020, 02:25 PM
(seafood.vasep.com.vn) According to the statistics of Vietnam Customs, after the growth in February 2020, tuna export value plunged in March 2020. Total tuna export value of Vietnam in the first quarter of 2020 down 10.4% over the same period in 2019. This result is due to the decline in tuna export value to major importers. Specifically, after the growth in February, tuna exports to all three largest importers of Vietnam, the US, EU and ASEAN, all slumped in March.

In the US market, after a recovery in February, Vietnamese tuna exports to this market fell by 23% in March. The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the US caused the country to impose a shutdown. Accordingly, the number of people allowed in public places is limited, citizens are required to restrict participation in activities ... this has reduced the demand for tuna in this market.

Similarly, Vietnamese tuna exports to the EU also dropped by over 27% in March 2020. With the number of cases and deaths from Covid-19 increasing in EU countries such as Spain, Italy and Germany, Vietnam's main tuna importers, trading activities to these markets are leveled off. The system of restaurants and hotels that have stopped operating to avoid spreading Covid-19 has also reduced demand for tuna in the market. Besides, inventories on the EU market are at high levels, even higher than before the Covid-19 outbreak. The reason is that the tuna price in the world market at the end of 2019 at a low level has made businesses hoard more. At present, although the contract has been signed, the market has no demand, many export shipments to the EU market have not been delivered or detained.

ASEAN continued to be the third-largest importer of Vietnam, in the first 3 months of 2020, export value to this market reached 9.6 million USD, down nearly 15% compared to the same period in 2019. In particular, Thailand - the largest single importer of Vietnamese tuna in the bloc, also down 15% over the same period in 2019. On March 24, 2020 the Thai government decided to declare a national emergency to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, which also led to the suspension of many orders of tuna to this market.

In addition to the major importers, Vietnamese tuna exports to other markets such as Japan, Canada or Egypt are showing optimistic growth over the same period in 2019. However, the value of exports to these markets is still small.

Thus, it can be seen that the outbreak of Covid-19 has been affecting tuna trade activities in the world. Besides, the pandemic also caused the trend of tuna consumption in the world market to change. According to statistics of markets, the application of social distancing measures in countries has led to a sharp decline in demand for live, fresh and frozen tuna. Meanwhile, demand for small-size canned tuna rose thanks to increased demand for the stockpile of consumers. This common trend is causing businesses to look for a way to increase production and export of processed tuna, reducing exports of fresh, or frozen.

However, the outbreak of pandemic is also affecting the supply of raw tuna in the world. Specifically, due to concerns about the spread of the pandemic, many Pacific Island nations implemented orders to blockade completely or declared an emergency, preventing ships from entering and unloading at ports. This also caused a limited supply of raw materials, affecting tuna production.

Meanwhile, the tuna catches in the Western and Central Pacific region are low, which has caused the price of raw tuna in this area to rise, the  raw tuna price in Bangkok rose by 50% since the end of February. While, prices in other regions such as Malta, Seychelles remain stable, and are at lower levels. 

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Specialist on Tuna market
Ms Van Ha
Tel: +84 24 37715055 (ext. 216)
Portal of Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP)
Head office in HCM city: No 7, Nguyen Quy Canh Road, An Phu Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
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In charge of content: Nguyen Hoai Nam (Mr) – Deputy General Secretary of VASEP
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