Asia production problems add pressure on shrimp prices

Issues with shrimp production in Vietnam and China are the lastest factors keeping prices high for buyers, sources in Asia, Europe and USA.

Coming on the back of the flooding in Thailand, which sources expect will hit the world’s largest producer to the tune of 50,000 metric tons, buyers are concerned with the outlook for other Asian shrimp-producing countries.

“Vietnam white [vannamei] shrimp prices are generally on the high side right now, partially affected by black tiger prices,” said Jim Gulkin, managing director of Siam Canadian, a Bangkok, Thailand-based trading group.

Also, white production is still relatively low, expecting increased landings June to July, said Gulkin.

The main concern in Vietnam is with black tiger shrimp, he told IntraFish.

China is also having production problems. Shrimp producers in China have shifted production back for six weeks because of the cold weather, said Adriaan De Leeuw, managing director of Belgium-based importer Solea International.

Meanwhile, Indonesia continues to struggle with weather-related production problems, said Ernie Wayland, of U.S. importer International Marketing Specialists (IMS). In addition, he’s heard confirmed reports of white spot disease.

India is the only major Asian producer that is not reporting any production problems, he told IntraFish.

All the problems with the other Asian producers point to a later-than-normal peak harvest in Asia this year, he said.

There’s no relief from the Americas, either. Prices are high for product from Ecuador, the largest producer in South America, due to strong European interest in head-on shrimp, he said.

European buyers have a distinct buying advantage over American buyers due to the weak dollar, said Wayland.  It is expected that China will be a strong buyer this year. China has an estimated internal demand of about 1.5 million metric tons and does not produce enough of their own shrimp to supply their growing domestic demand.”

China – U.S. exports down

Sales of shrimp from the China to the United States are down, said Wayland. For the month of February, China’s U.S. exports were off 36 percent compared to a comparable period last year, he said. Year to date, they were down 19 percent for the first two months of the year.

China exported 105 million pounds to the United States in 2010. A very large portion of this was breaded shrimp, he said. This means the figure is skewed, because all the breaded shrimp manufacturers in the U.S. have outsourced their production to China.

“The general consensus is that more and more of China’s shrimp production is going to stay in China to supply the demand for a growing middle class,” said Wayland. …
Source: Vietfish International
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