Seafood exports declined sharply in the first month of the year

VCN - Many key export items fell deeply, causing the export turnover of the seafood industry to decrease by more than 30% in the first month of the year.
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According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), in January 2023, seafood exports continued to decline sharply following the trend of the last quarter of the previous year, along with the occasion coincided with the Lunar New Year holiday.

It is estimated that in the first month of the year, seafood exports decreased by 31% to about USD 600 million.

Notably, many export products of Vietnam's seafood decreased very deeply, such as: Pangasius decreased by 50%, shrimp decreased by 46%, tuna decreased by 32%.

Particularly, squid and octopus still maintained positive growth 4% and other marine fish species increased by 6%.

According to the analysis of VASEP, from the fourth quarter of 2022, the trend of seafood export has reversed to negative growth of more than 9% and decreased deeply in all categories due to the impact of inflation in markets.

Exports to major markets in January 2023 all decreased sharply, of which the US decreased by 56%, China - Hong Kong decreased by 55%, the EU decreased by 35%.

The picture of seafood export will not be able to brighten again in the first months of the year when the world economy is forecast to fall into recession this year. However, for consumer markets, seafood is still an essential food item and demand will not drop too sharply. There will be adjustments in demand by product segment. Accordingly, the advantage will be more inclined to moderate-priced goods because it is suitable for low- or middle-income consumers, which is the group most affected by inflation.

According to economic experts, in 2023 there are still many risks for export enterprises and seafood enterprises. In particular, the risk of an escalation of the war in Ukraine and the emergence of a transatlantic trade war could continue to affect seafood supplies in major markets. That context can also be considered an opportunity for Vietnamese seafood to increase supply to the US, China, and EU markets.

In addition, the opening of China gives great hope for a recovery in demand not only in this market but also in other markets around the world, when tourism and trade are smooth. And the recovery that this market brings will also have clear results from at least the second quarter of 2023.

In addition, businesses can still be optimistic about markets that are assessed to have economic growth this year such as Asia, the Middle East, etc.

In that context, it is important for seafood enterprises to ensure financial health to maintain stable production and have raw materials ready when the consumption market recovers to be able to meet the supply. Moreover, businesses can take advantage of each industry in terms of supply and consumption market factors by capturing market information and forecasting.

Besides, the conditions for the business environment are also gradually improving in the direction of supporting more production and export. Accordingly, one of the important factors is infrastructure and logistics for export production in the key Mekong Delta region.

Accordingly, on the first day of the Lunar New Year, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh came to work and inspected key transport projects in the Mekong Delta and required that by 2026 the Mekong Delta must have 554 km of highways. This is good news for regional economic development, especially in the fisheries sector. It is expected that this is also a driving force and a condition to promote seafood production and export in the future.

Along with that, many seafood enterprises had orders and accelerated production and export in the early days of the year. Specifically, after the Lunar New Year, most seafood processing factories for export in the Mekong Delta welcomed workers back to work to meet export orders, such as a system of five factories and three preliminary processing facilities of Ca Mau Seafood Processing and Services Joint Stock Company (CASES) welcomed over 5,000 workers back to work on the 6th of Tet to fulfill export orders; Kien Hung Seafood Export Joint Stock Company (Kien Giang), signed a contract to export two shipments of steamed squid and cobia to Japan with a total value of USD 48 million, contract completion time from now to April 2023 has shown optimism in the recovery of the consumption market as well as the stability in production and export of seafood.

The seafood industry is looking forward to the recovery of demand and orders from the markets with the hope that the situation will be brighter in the second quarter of 2023.

By Le Thu/Bui Diep

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