(seafood.vasep.com.vn) Over 1.8 billion USD and negative growth of 27% in the first quarter of 2023, showing that the situation of the seafood market is more difficult than expected. The picture of seafood exports may gradually brighten in the second quarter and is expected to recover better from the third quarter when the Chinese market has a clearer improvement and seafood enterprises have adjusted their product structure and markets to adapt to the context of 2023.
The US economy is unstable, gasoline and electricity prices have “cooled down”, but food prices are still high. The US consumers, especially the low-income class, had to change their diets and food purchase channels. There has been a trend that many consumers consider choosing chicken, beef or pork instead of seafood. Grocery stores with discount programs often have better sales than large supermarket channels. More and more people are choosing to buy home-cooked food to save money.
Any changes from the largest market has strongly affected the results of Vietnam's seafood export and the business situation of many enterprises. With $283 million, down 51% in the first quarter, the US is no longer Vietnam's No. 1 seafood market.
Japan has surpassed the US to become the largest import market of Vietnamese seafood
Japan has surpassed the US to become the largest import market of Vietnamese seafood, although exports to this market decreased by 7%, reaching over 322 million USD in the first quarter of 2023. The structure of seafood exports to Japan is leaning more towards seafood products such as squid, scad, pollock, tuna, grouper.
Japan is Vietnam's largest marine products consumption market, mainly in the marine fish segment, in which a significant part of raw fish is imported from Japan to Vietnam, processed and re-exported to this country. Therefore, seafood exports to Japan increased by 10% while the export of seafood products to other major markets such as the US, Korea and China, the EU all decreased by 6% - 45%.
Many enterprises are expecting the opening of the Chinese market will boost imports, offsetting the decline of other major markets. In the first two months of 2023, China's seafood imports from other countries increased by 32%, reaching over 560 thousand tons, with a value of over $2.7 billion, up 20%. Thus, consumption demand is clearly increasing, but the decrease in import prices to this market has affected sales of Vietnam’s seafood. Particularly for pangasius, in the first 2 months of 2023, China imported 18.4 thousand tons with an average price of 2.15 USD/kg, down 7% compared to the same period in 2022.
Therefore, by the end of the first quarter of 2023, Vietnam’s seafood exports to this market were still 27% lower than the same period last year.
The EU market also decreased by 29% in the value of seafood imports from Vietnam in the first quarter, reaching only 210 million USD. Exports of shrimp and seafood products to the EU all decreased by 7-50%. Exports of pangasius were more stable, thanks to increased exports to the German market.
Exports to the top 5 largest markets in the EU including Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Spain all decreased by 4-44% over the same period. However, many small markets, especially countries in Eastern Europe, still increase imports of Vietnamese seafood, especially pangasius products. Specifically, seafood exports to Poland increased by 49%, to Lithuania by 29%, to Finland by nearly 4 times, and to Romania by 17%.
In the first quarter of 2023, most shrimp and pangasius exporters experienced a sharp decline in export value due to market difficulties and the pressure of too high input costs; rising feed prices, fish prices lead to high raw material prices. In particular, businesses whose traditional and main market is the US are affected the most.
Seafood processing and exporting enterprises also face difficulties because of the lack of domestic raw materials and more difficulties in the EU market, so many businesses experience a decrease in sales. However, some enterprises still have higher revenue compared to the same period last year thanks to the promotion of processing of wild-caught marine products, especially marine fishes.
The picture of seafood exports may gradually brighten in the second quarter and is expected to recover better from the third quarter when the Chinese market has a clearer improvement and seafood enterprises have adjusted their product structure and the market to adapt to the context of 2023.
Compiled by Thuy Linh