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Thailand

James Gulkin and the Siam Canadian Group

 

According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Thailand will miss its production target of 330,000 metric tons of farmed shrimp in 2017.  Thai shrimp production plummeted to 200,000 tons per year between 2012 and 2015 when the industry was hit by early mortality syndrome (EMS).  At its peak, Thailand produced 640,000 tons of farmed shrimp a year.

 

Thailand is expected to produce 300,000-310,000 tons of farmed shrimp this year, up 5% from last year.

 

James Gulkin, managing director of Bangkok-headquartered seafood trading firm Siam Canadian Group, thinks it will take three more years for Thailand to get its production back to previous levels.  Gulkin thinks the Thai shrimp farming industry can reach its 10% growth target for 2018.

 

In terms of revenue, shrimp is expected to represent close to 70% of Siam Canadian Group’s $320-325 million turnover for 2017, up from $300 million last year.

 

Historically, Thailand represented close to 100% of Siam Canadian’s revenue, but a wave of shrimp diseases in Thailand from 2012 to 2015 forced it to begin trading with other countries.  “In terms of value, Thailand now represents close to 30%, and in terms of volume close to 26%,” Gulkin said.

 

 

Gulkin’s Comments on Global Shrimp Markets

 

China, formerly one of the largest exporters of shrimp, is now a net importer.  India and Southeast Asian countries have benefited from growing Chinese demand, coupled with its relatively low production, as have South American countries, which now export the largest part of their frozen shrimp to China, rather than the USA or Europe.

 

“China’s aquaculture industry has been hit by a number of factors, including pollution, an overly fragmented industry and a lack of understanding with regard to the use of antibiotics,” Gulkin said.  Thailand has benefited from a more cohesive market, led by key food producers like CP Group and Thai Union.

 

“The industry is unrecognizable from 2012.  India has overtaken Thailand, which was then the prime frozen shrimp supplier.  Indonesia and Vietnam have experienced strong growth,” he said.  Vietnam, Indonesia and India have to a certain extent filled the supply gap left by Thailand.  “Thailand is in a recovery phase, while India is expanding,” he said.

 

The FAO said India is now the leading supplier of Peneaus vannamei.  In 2016, its production neared half a million tons.  Shrimp exports from India climbed 34% year-on-year, driven by demand from Vietnam, Japan, China and the USA.

 

This year, prices were firm until the third quarter, but went south after increases in production were reported in India and Indonesia.  Next year, prices are expected to be stable, but lower than in 2014 and 2015, more in line with prices in the first half of 2017, said Gulkin.

 

The shrimp market is coming out of the volatility that characterized it in the first several years after 2012.  “In 2014, prices were sky high because of the lack of production coming out of Thailand, and lack of replacement,” said Gulkin.

 

Margins remain slim across the industry.  For brokers like Siam Canadian, they are less than 5%, even as the firm moves to finance product purchases for processors that need cash injections and cautious overseas investors.  “I hope to shift some of my revenue to the import business where profits are much better,” he said.

 

Siam Canadian Gourmet, a separate corporate entity under the Siam Canadian umbrella, is expected to drive profits in coming years by selling desserts and other food products to retailers like Marco, Tesco, Big C, restaurants, and airlines like Bangkok Airways.

 

Information: James Gulkin, Siam Canadian Foods Co., Ltd., 9th Floor, Suite 283/44, Home Place Office Building, 283 Thong lor 13, Sukhumvit 55, Klongton-Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110 Thailand (Phone +66-2-185-3311, Fax 66-2-185-3317, Email info@siamcanadian.com.  Webpage https://www.siamcanadian.com).

 

Source: Bangkok Post.  Thailand Yet to Regain Title of Shrimp King.  Jesus Alcocer.  November 29, 2017.

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