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January 24, 2014

World Shrimp Markets




The Japanese market is totally dependent on imported shrimp, and the weaker yen and rising international prices have contributed to shrinking demand.  Demand for raw shrimp is declining, while demand for processed shrimp is increasing.  Japanese importers must compete with USA importers, but the weak yen makes this difficult.  Hence, imports have slowed down, particularly for raw frozen shrimp.  Weak supplies of shell-on shrimp from Thailand and high prices affected consumer demand at supermarkets.  Considering current market conditions, imports of processed shrimp are a better option for Japan.


Consumer demand slowed after the summer holiday, but wholesale prices continued to rise as a result of falling domestic inventories and a weak supply forecast from producing countries.  Export prices have also increased in south and southeast Asian producing countries as many of these currencies have weakened against the USA dollar and raw material prices continue to rise.


Imports during the period January to June 2013 fell below those of the same period in 2012 as a result of lower supplies of raw frozen products; however, processed shrimp imports increased, which is a reflection of escalating reprocessing costs in Japan.


Imports of raw frozen shrimp in the January-June 2013 period were 1.38% lower than those of a year ago, although supplies increased from Indonesia, Viet Nam and India.  Processed shrimp imports went up by 2.18% compared with the same period last year.  Supplies of cooked frozen shrimp and sushi shrimp were 6.13% and 32% higher, respectively.




European shrimp markets were quiet during the first six months of the 2013.  Sluggish domestic demand, high shrimp prices and short supplies prompted many European buyers to withdraw from the international market because they were unable to compete with buyers from other countries.  Buying activities were mainly focused on immediate needs.  Only in the last two months have concerted efforts been made to buy consistently and pay competitive prices to refill depleted inventories.


For the first six months of the year total shrimp imports into the European Union declined by 7%.  There were sharp drops in supplies from Thailand (-33.3%), China (-12.4%), Ecuador (-5.7%) and Viet Nam (-4.5%).  Increased supplies from India (+12.5%), Greenland (+7.4%) and Denmark (+11.2%) offset the declines.  Imports from Ecuador, the largest supplier, were down slightly by 2.1%.


Germany is highly dependent on shrimp supplies from Asia, and German imports dropped sharply by more than 16% because of lower shipments from Thailand (-27.8%), Viet Nam (-23.4%) and Bangladesh (-21.6%).  Only India increased its exports (+9%) to the European Union.


India and Bangladesh are two major Asian producing countries that have not been affected by the EMS problem, and they generally did well in all major markets.  Imports from India and Bangladesh to the United Kingdom market increased sharply, 13.5% and 27.6%, respectively, but shipments from Thailand, the number one supplier, dropped 24.5%.  Shrimp imports into France also declined marginally by 1.6% in 2013 largely as a result of lower supplies from Thailand (-47.1%), which could not be compensated for by increased supplies from Ecuador (+21.9%), Bangladesh (+44.4%), India (+3.2%) and Viet Nam (+4.8%).


The largest shrimp market in the European Union—Spain—continued on a downward trend.  Imports declined by 11.6%.  Supplies from all sources declined with shipments from Argentina, Ecuador and China, the three largest suppliers, falling by 2.6%, 20.7% and 16%, respectively.


Shrimp imports into the Netherlands and Belgium fell by 21.7% and 15.3%, respectively.





Buyers from China have been actively buying shrimp from major producing countries in Asia, particularly from India.  Purchases were made at competitive prices, matching those paid by USA buyers.  As a result, shrimp imports into China from January to June 2013 were up significantly over the same period in 2012, up 16.4% with more supplies coming from Asian and Latin American.  Supplies from Ecuador and India increased by 117.6% and 130.8%, respectively.





Though overseas demand has been very strong and prices have been rising rapidly, Indian shrimp packers have had to face environmental problems as well as political challenges.  Raw materials shortage because of diminished crops, heavy rains; whitespot disease and the on-going political problems in Andhra Pradesh have badly affected the delivery of shrimp from farms to processing plants.  As a result, ex-farm prices of 30-count per kilowhole Penaeus vannamei in Andhra Pradesh jumped to $6.50–$8.20 in August 2013 from $3.30–$4.90 in 2012.




Thai shrimp companies have been importing raw materials from Ecuador and India to keep their processing plants running.





Despite having similar problem as Thailand, Viet Nam’s shrimp exports generated $1.67 billion for the first eight months of 2013, up 18% compared to the same period in 2013.  According to the country’s Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the proportion of exports of giant tiger to white shrimp was more or less equal in terms of quantity.


Source: GlobeFish (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).  Shrimp January 2014.  January 1994.

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