The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters (VASEP) said the global economic slowdown is taking its toll on Vietnam’s seafood exports, with falling prices of key commodities affecting producers’ profits, according to Vietnam News Agency.
According to data from the Vietnam National Bureau of Statistics, in May this year, Vietnam's seafood exports were US$800 million, a year-on-year decrease of 23.9%. Sales in the first five months of this year were US$3.37 billion, a year-on-year decrease of 28%. Shrimp and pangasius, Vietnam's main export commodities, both saw sharp declines in the first five months of 2023. Pangasius sales fell 41 percent to $690 million, while shrimp exports fell 34.4 percent year-on-year to $1.22 billion.
Nguyen Thi Thanh Hang, a market analyst at Vietnamese brokerage VNDirect Securities, said seafood exporters in Vietnam have started to feel the brunt of the global economic slowdown since September last year as high inflation in major markets led to lower consumption and lower prices.
The results of Vietnam's top seafood companies reflect the dire sales decline. Minh Phu Seafood, Vietnam's largest shrimp exporter, posted a net loss of VND 97 billion ($4.1 million) in the first quarter, the last time it posted a loss in the second quarter of 2016. Net profit at Vinh Hoan Corporation, Vietnam's largest pangasius exporter, fell 60% to 219 billion dong ($9.3 million) in the first quarter.
Ho Quoc Luc, chairman of Vietnamese shrimp exporter Fimex (Sao Ta), said the depreciation of the euro and yen has reduced purchasing power in these markets, while the U.S. market has been flooded with low-priced products from Ecuador and India.
In addition, Vietnamese seafood exporters have so far failed to reap the profits they expected from the Chinese market due to consumer concerns and uncertainty about the global economic outlook.
Vietnam's seafood exports to China fell 37 percent to just $435 million between January and April, said VASEP media director Le Hang. Sales of Vietnamese pangasius have yet to show signs of recovery in China due to falling prices and reduced demand. In the first four months of this year, sales of Vietnamese shrimp and pangasius products exported to China dropped by 30 percent and 68 percent, respectively, compared with the same period last year.