Seafood exports in first 6 months reach $4.4 billion, up 7%

Vietnam’s seafood exports soared to over $4.4 billion in the first six months of 2024, marking a nearly 7% rise from the same period in 2023. Significant highlights include a near 25% increase in tuna exports and a remarkable 40% boost in exports to the EU in June.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) reports that in June 2024, the country’s seafood export revenue hit an estimated $875 million, a 14% jump compared to the same month last year. This month also recorded the highest export value since the year’s start.

Most major seafood products showed robust growth in June: pangasius exports climbed 22%, tuna surged 40%, and crab exports skyrocketed 59%. Shrimp exports saw a modest increase of 7%, while squid and octopus were the only items to experience a slight decline compared to last year.

In the first half of 2024, seafood exports accumulated over $4.4 billion, up nearly 7% from the same period in 2023.

Shrimp exports brought in over $1.6 billion in the first half of this year, a 7% increase from last year. Whiteleg shrimp reached nearly $1.2 billion, a slight uptick of 3%, while black tiger shrimp exceeded $200 million but fell by 10%. Notably, lobster exports surged dramatically by 57 times, reaching over $130 million.

Pangasius exports in the first half of this year amounted to $922 million, nearly 6% higher than the same period last year. Although demand has improved, export prices for pangasius in key markets like China, the EU, and the UK remained low. However, the US market showed more positive signs in terms of both price and volume. Tuna exports in the first half of 2024 increased nearly 25% to $477 million, driven mainly by a sharp rise in canned and pouched tuna. Exports to most markets increased compared to 2023, with the US and EU accounting for 37% and 22% of Vietnam’s tuna exports, growing 30% and 37% respectively. Exports to Israel grew the most at 64%, followed by Russia at 58% and South Korea at 66%.

Since 2021, Vietnam’s canned tuna exports have been on an upward trend, according to VASEP. Export values rose from $169 million in 2021 to $255 million in 2023, a 51% increase from 2022. This growth has accelerated in 2024.

Conversely, squid and octopus exports declined slightly by 1% in the first half of the year to $289 million.

Aside from tuna, several other marine fish products experienced significant demand and sales growth in the first half of the year. Barramundi exports rose 27% to over $36 million, yellowstripe scad increased 14% to over $29 million, mackerel grew 6%, pollock increased 8% to $38 million, and amberjack surged 96%. Freshwater fish also saw increased demand, with red tilapia up 32%, snakehead up 18%, and eel up 93%.

June 2024 saw a notable surge in the EU market. Statistics reveal that seafood exports from Vietnam to the EU experienced the highest growth, rising 40% in June 2024. In the first half of 2024, seafood exports to the EU reached $513 million, up 12% from the previous year.

Experts attribute this to the stabilizing EU market. Market prices and consumer demand are stabilizing, with seafood inflation continuing to drop to 2.1% in May. Since March, inflation has significantly decreased for frozen seafood, with a deflation rate of -0.9% in May. It is anticipated that EU demand and seafood imports will further increase after the summer holidays.

Vietnam’s largest seafood export markets, the US and China, maintained strong growth in June 2024, with exports to the US up 14% and to China up 18%.

VASEP notes that the US economy shows positive signs this year. US inflation has dropped rapidly from 9% to 3%, and the US is expected to cut interest rates soon to boost consumption, offering a good opportunity for increased seafood consumption. In the first half of the year, seafood exports to the US totaled $733 million, up 9%, while exports to China rose 7% to $766 million.

In Japan, seafood export value in June grew by only 2% compared to the same period last year. By the end of June 2024, seafood exports to Japan reached $705 million, down slightly by 1% compared to the first half of 2023. The Japanese Yen’s 12% depreciation against the US Dollar—the largest among major currencies—has contributed to reduced imports. Additionally, the impact of China’s ban on Japanese seafood imports has also slowed Japan’s imports.

VASEP hopes for a stable seafood export situation this year, following the usual cycle of acceleration in the third and fourth quarters. Forecasts suggest that export value in the last six months of the year will be about 15% higher than the same period in 2023, reaching over $5.5 billion, bringing the total export value for 2024 to nearly $10 billion, a 12% increase from 2023.


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