REPORT: Vietnam seafood exports to the EU in first 8 months of 2013

Up to 15th of August 2013, Vietnam's seafood exports to EU reached U.S$667.3 million, down 4.6% from the same period last year, in which pangasius exports decreased 12.8% to US$237 million, shrimp exports increased by 5.3% to reach U.S$195 million; tuna exports rose 33.8% to US$89 million. In first 8 months of the year seafood exports to the market is estimated to reach around US$ 720 million, down 4.6% compared with the same period last year. Although shrimp and tuna exports have begun to recover from the second quarter, but it’s not enough to compensate for the decline of pangasius exports, which account for average 35-40% seafood export value to the EU every month.

The EU was the leading seafood importer of Vietnam in recent years. However, the region has now slid to the second position after the U.S. due to economic crisis, which weakened demand and consumption. Higher requirements on product quality and certifications also caused decrease in fish imports.

According to Report on Vietnam seafood exports in QII/2013, Vietnamese seafood exports to the EU in Q.II/2013 increased by 16% compared to that of Q.I/2013, but decreased by 7 percent in comparison to that of the compatible quarter of 2012. The first six months’ sales plummeted 7.8 percent to US$512 million. 

Shrimp exports had some recovery

In QII/2013, shrimp shipment to EU was improved gradually with the growth of 1.3 percent. While in QI/2013, shrimp exports to the market were still 5.2 percent lower than that of the same period of 2012.

In 2012, EU’s demand for shrimp slashed drastically owing to regional economic distress. Besides, shrimp export price to EU in 2012 was much lower than 2011, leading to a deep dive in EU’s shrimp imports from main suppliers.

Vietnam’s shrimp export value to EU in 2012 tumbled 24.5 percent from that of 2011. It reported the reduction of 13 percent - 46 percent in exports in each month. However, statistics of Vietnam Customs showed that in the first 6 months of 2013, shrimp exports to the market experienced a setback of only 1.5 percent from the same period of 2012. In three months among the period of Jan-Jun 2013, shrimp exports to EU reported positive growth of 3.2 percent – 33.8 percent.

Despite low EU’s demand for shrimp, Vietnam still has opportunities to boost shrimp exports to EU due to sharp decline in shrimp imports from Thailand into the market. 

Pangasius price down due to huge supply of cod

In Q.II/2013, pangasius exports to the EU had a worth of US$95.9 million, down 12.8 percent from the same quarter of 2012. The first half’s revenue was down 14 percent to US$191.3 million.

Higher supply of cod with lower price affecting the selling price of pangasius in European market.

Pangasius price fell to the lowest level compared to that registered during the previous summers. The fish is currently sold at US$2.40 – 2.60 per kilogram, down 10-20 percent. However, fish sales went up in some markets like Portugal, the U.K. and Eastern European countries. Dutch demand for pangasius is still high, particularly in the retail segment where pangasius was better sold than cod and even than tilapia.

Spain: Between January and June 2013, Spanish imports of pangasius from Vietnam valued at US$39.8 million, 17.8 percent fewer than that of the same half of 2012. In Q.II/2013, imports stumbled nearly 24 percent to US$18.3 million. Despite decline in purchase, Spain still was the largest consumer of Vietnam pangasius in the EU.

Germany: In Q.II/2013, German imported US$10.009 million of Vietnamese pangasius products, down 22.3 percent against that in Q.II/2012. In the first six months, fish sales to this market totaled US$2.8 million, 17.2 percent below that in the first half of 2012. Germany continued to be Vietnam’s third consumer market in the EU and ranked eighth among single export markets of Vietnam. So far, pangasius consumption in German market has not recovered and it is hard for Vietnamese companies to boost export in the coming time. The decline in German imports in the first two quarters of 2013 was partly due to lower demand for food in the market and high supply of some whitemeat fish species with cheaper prices.

The U.K.:In Q.II/2013, the U.K. consumed US$11.6 million of Vietnamese pangasius, up 15.4 percent over the compatible quarter of 2012. In January and June 2013, purchase from Vietnam was up 5.6 percent to US$19.4 million. This was the only one among Europe’s four key markets showed rise in imports in the second quarter and the first half of the year. Currently, some U.K. supermarkets are trading pangasius with ASC certification, opening new door for certified pangasius to develop in the country’s supermarket chains.

Positive growth in tuna exports

In QII/2013, among three main importers of Vietnam tuna, EU was the only market reporting the growth of 25.9 percent in tuna imports from Vietnam in comparison with QII/2012. Exports of the item to EU reached US$35.77 million at that time. In Jan-Jun 2013, tuna exports to EU touched US$68.63 million, up 31 percent from Jan-Jun 2012.

In Jan-Jun 2013, the proportion of Vietnam’s processed tuna exports to EU’s members was equating to that of live/fresh/frozen tuna exports. In which exports of canned and other processed tuna reported a tremendous increase of 78 percent from that of the same period of 2012 while exports of live/fresh/frozen tuna rose slightly 4.5 percent.

Until the late Jun 2013, Vietnam tuna was sold to 22 markets in EU block. In the first two months of QII/2013, tuna imports into Italy (the second largest markets in EU block) had signs of recovery but still reported downfall from that of the same period of 2012.