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Seafood exports to the United States are expected to improve in the second half of the year.

03/07/2023 14:15

The major market for seafood exports from Vietnam, which is the United States, is showing gradual signs of improvement. Export-oriented seafood businesses are hopeful for a recovery in the second half of the year.

According to Ms. Le Hang, the Communications Director of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), Vietnam's seafood exports to the United States in the first 5 months of 2023 decreased by nearly half compared to the same period in 2022, reaching $563 million. All major segments of the industry experienced significant declines ranging from 30 to 60%. Specifically, the two main products, shrimp and tra fish, experienced the deepest declines, with decreases of 42% and 62% respectively compared to the same period last year.

However, when looking at the monthly export figures, it appears that this market is showing signs of improvement. Seafood exports to the United States in May reached $151 million, the highest level so far this year. Although there was still a negative growth of 39% compared to the same period last year, it was the smallest decline compared to previous months. Shrimp and tra fish both showed breakthroughs compared to previous months, with shrimp reaching $68 million and tra fish reaching $33 million.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as of the end of April 2023, the U.S. had imported 924 thousand tons of various types of seafood, valued at over $8 billion, a decrease of 12% in volume and 20% in value compared to the same period last year. Compared to the leading exporting countries to this market, Vietnam experienced the deepest decline.

In terms of shrimp alone, the U.S. also saw a 12% decrease in import volume and a 29% decrease in value. Among them, India accounted for 35% of the market share, and Ecuador accounted for 22%, while Vietnam only accounted for 7%.

Among the imported frozen fish products in the U.S., Vietnamese fillet tra fish also experienced the sharpest decline, while imports of cod increased significantly by 37% in volume and 64% in value.

In addition to inflation reducing consumption demand in the U.S., a key factor contributing to the negative growth of Vietnam's seafood exports to the U.S. is the issue of high inventory levels, following the massive purchases by importers in the first half of 2022 due to the anticipation of supply shortages in the previous year.

Therefore, U.S. importers need time to clear their inventory. The prices of products from the inventory being sold will surely decrease, resulting in increased competition and price pressure on new imported goods. This is also a factor leading to the sharp decline in Vietnam's export turnover.

(Seafood exports to the U.S. are showing positive signals)

Based on the above developments, it is expected that in the coming months, inventory levels will gradually decrease, and during the high-demand season at the end of the year, importers will resume ordering from Vietnam.

In addition to the U.S. market, China, which is a major seafood export market for Vietnam, may have a more optimistic outlook in the second half of the year as Chinese consumers adapt to the new situation. The sectors of tourism, restaurants, hotels, and basic consumption will gradually recover.

Furthermore, although the markets of Japan and South Korea also experienced decreased demand due to inflation, the decline was not as steep as in the aforementioned markets. Many businesses still see bright spots in these two markets, as Vietnam's leading position in seafood products is not being competed by other countries. Therefore, as long as inflation stabilizes, exports to these two markets will recover faster, compensating for the remaining markets.


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