Fingerling shortages have been the key factor in the price rise, which has seen sales prices to the EU and US markets increase.
According to some importers, Tra fish prices in foreigh market like EU seem to have risen around 13.5% since February. Given estimates of $1.46-$1.50 per pound that month, this would put prices to the US now roughly at $1.70/lb.
Don Kelley, procurement manager with US importer Western Edge Seafood, cited the raw material shortage, and added: “even after the material starts to normalize, there is the Sept. 1 USDA date for full compliance. Inspection rates are expected to increase to at least 50%, with target of 100%. This will add $0.07/lb to the cost of the loads, so buyers are buying, keeping demand strong.”
A second US source said pangasius was coming to the country at $1.70-$1.85/lb, ex-warehouse. It is still too early to tell what will happen in the long-term, but in the mid-2000s prices reached almost $2.00/lb, and it still sold freely, he said.
Meanwhile, to the EU, one Vietnamese exporter and a key European importer confirmed prices of $2.45 per kilo, FOB 100% net weight. The importer added that prices at the end of March had stabilized at this level.
Max Basch – vice president of global sales and marketing for Vinh Hoan Corporation said: “Fingerling prices doubled; and when the farmers’ costs double, a hike from VND 25,000/kg to VND 27,000/kg doesn’t cut it for them. This isn’t due to a quick shortage based on disease, or bad harvest, this is longer term; this price will be normal for maybe three to six months”. Usually raw material situations can correct themselves, but with a shortage of fingerlings, price pressure will remain on packers to increase what they pay to farmers, he said.
As for the fingerlings, production has recovered, so – all being well – pangasius production should begin increasing again in the second half of 2017.