The Vietnam Agency of Foreign Trade anticipates that seafood exports to the US will continue to decline sharply in quarter II as compared to the same period last year. This downward trend will slow down from quarter 3/2023.
According to the Vietnam Agency of Foreign Trade (under the Ministry of Industry and Trade), Vietnam achieved USD 766 million from exporting seafood in March, down 24% from the same period last year.
Vietnam achieved USD 1.8 billion from exporting seafood in the first quarter of 2023, down 27% from the same period last year due to inflation, poor consumption, and high export value in quarter I of 2022. Seafood exports in quarter I of 2023 were 2% higher than quarter I of 2019 when the COVID`-19 pandemic hadn’t occurred.
In the first quarter of 2023, a sharp decrease in seafood exports were recorded in most of the markets while exports to Hongkong, the Philippines, and Israel increased.
Japan was the biggest market of Vietnamese seafood in quarter I of 2023, valued at USD 322 million, down 7% from the same period last year, mainly due to falling prices. The downward trend of seafood exports to Japan starts to slow down.
Likewise, seafood exports to the US declined by 50% from quarter I of 2022 and reached USD 283 million when consumption went down due to high inflation; meanwhile importers increased their purchases in the first half of 2022, resulting in a high inventory level.
The Vietnam Agency of Foreign Trade anticipates that seafood exports to the US will continue to fall in quarter II due to the high value achieved in the same period last year; and such a downward trend will slow down from quarter III of 2023.
Meanwhile seafood exports to the Chinese market continued to fall unexpectedly by 37% in March 2023, reaching USD 113 million. Vietnam saw a 26% decline in exporting seafood to this market in quarter I, reaching USD 238 million, down 26% from the same period last year.
The Vietnam Agency of Foreign Trade said that Vietnamese seafood is struggling with fierce competition from other suppliers.
Vietnamese shrimp are fiercely competing with cheap small sized frozen shrimp products from Ecuador and India. Other products such as marine fishes, cuttlefish, and octopus are dealing with competition from other exporters.
On the other hand, Vietnam saw a 40% increase in sales to Israel in March, with USD 6.5 million worth being achieved, leaving the total seafood export value to this market in the first three months of USD 19.5 million, up 36% from the same period last year. Vietnam saw the highest growth rate in Israel.
According to the Vietnam Agency of Foreign Trade, even though Israel is a small market, such an increase forms a highlight in the panorama of Vietnam’s seafood exports amidst the impact of inflation to the demand from large and traditional markets.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade completed the Free Trade Agreement between Vietnam and Israel on April 02, 2023. This promises to create new opportunities for seafood companies. Even though Israel accounts for a low density among Vietnam’s exporting markets, it is a potential market due to high consumption and solvency.