June seafood exports hit yearly high

VCN - Seafood exports for June 2024 are estimated to have reached $875 million, marking a 14% increase compared to the same period last year and the highest monthly export value since the beginning of 2024.
China increases imports of vietnamese lobster. Photo: N.Hien
China increases imports of vietnamese lobster. Photo: N.Hien

Lobster exports experience surge

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), seafood exports for June 2024 totaled approximately $875 million, reflecting a 14% increase from last year. This month recorded the highest export value since the start of 2024.

This achievement brought the total seafood export revenue in the first six months of the year to over $4.4 billion, a near 7% increase from the same period in 2023.

Exports of most key products saw significant growth in June, with pangasius exports rising by 22%, tuna by 40%, and crab by 59%. Shrimp exports saw a modest increase of 7%. Squid and octopus were the only products to experience a slight decline compared to the previous year.

For shrimp, the first half of the year generated more than $1.6 billion, up 7% from last year. Specifically, whiteleg shrimp revenues reached nearly $1.2 billion, up 3%, while giant tiger prawn revenues were over $200 million, down 10%. Notably, lobster exports increased dramatically, by 57 times compared to the same period, reaching over $130 million.

China is the largest market for Vietnamese lobster, accounting for 98-99% of the exports in the first six months of 2024, an increase of 57 times compared to last year.

Currently, Vietnam has 46 facilities approved to export lobster to China. While lobster exports to China are on a favorable trend, a long-term focus on regular export processes is necessary. This requires the development of integrated supply chains from production and procurement to export, linked with transparent traceability.

Pangasius, a key export product, earned $922 million in the first six months of 2024, up nearly 6% from the same period. Despite improvements in market demand, export prices to several markets remain low, such as China, the EU, and the UK. The US market, however, shows more promising signs in both price and import volume.

Tuna exports in the first half of the year rose by nearly 25% to $477 million, largely due to strong growth in the canned and pouch-segmented tuna market.

Besides tuna, other marine fish products also saw robust demand and sales growth in the first half of the year. Cobia exports grew by 27% reaching over $36 million, golden threadfin bream by 14% to over $29 million, mackerel by 6%, grey mullet by 8% reaching $38 million, and orange-spotted grouper by 96%. Several freshwater fish species also saw increased import demand, including red tilapia up 32%, tilapia up 18%, and eel up 93%.

Determined to remove the "yellow card" by year's end

Seafood exports to the EU market experienced the highest growth, up 40% in June. Cumulatively, over the first six months of 2024, seafood exports to the EU amounted to $513 million, up 12% compared to last year.

Experts note that the EU market is gradually stabilizing. Market prices and consumption are stabilizing, while seafood inflation continued to decrease, reaching 2.1% in May. Since March, inflation has even declined significantly for frozen seafood, with a deflation rate of 0.9% in May. The demand for and imports of seafood by the EU are expected to increase following the summer holidays in Europe.

The fifth inspection by the EC (scheduled for October 2024) is a crucial time for Vietnam to remove the "yellow card" warning in 2024. Consequently, related industries and authorities have recognized this as an essential task, unifying in action with the utmost determination to clear the "yellow card" warning and facilitate Vietnamese seafood exports to the EU market.

Additionally, seafood exports to the two largest markets, the US and China - Hong Kong, both recorded significant growth in June. Specifically, seafood exports to the US increased by 14%, and to the China - Hong Kong market by 18%.

Experts suggest that the US economy this year shows optimistic signs. Inflation in the US has rapidly decreased from 9% to 3%, and the US is expected to soon cut interest rates this year to stimulate consumer spending, thus providing a good opportunity for exporters. In the first half of the year, seafood exports to the US market reached $733 million, up 9%; exports to China - Hong Kong in the first half of the year increased by 7% to $766 million.

In the Japanese market, exports only slightly increased by 2% compared to the same period. By the end of June 2024, seafood exports to Japan reached $705 million, slightly down by 1% compared to the first half of 2023. The Japanese Yen depreciated by 12% against the USD, being the most depreciated among major currencies, which contributed to the decrease in imports from this country.

VASEP expects this year's export situation to stabilize in the usual cycle, accelerating in the third and fourth quarters, thereby increasing export turnover by about 15% compared to the same period in 2023, reaching over $5.5 billion, bringing the total export results for 2024 close to $10 billion, up 12% compared to 2023.

By Le Thu/Tran Minh

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