Vannamei Update

As per the data sourced from the General Administration of Customs of China, China has recorded an import of 740,000 tons of vannamei shrimp within the initial 9 months of the year 2023. It’s estimated that the annual import volume for vannamei could exceed one million tons for the first time.

China’s Vannamei Import Situation

China’s Vannamei Import Situation from 2019-2023 | Ocean Treasure

Despite the impact of the Covid-19, China set a record with a total import volume of 945,791 tons in 2022, and the total import volume in the latter two quarters exceeded 500,000 tons. In the first half of 2023, China’s import volume increased by 49%. Although marginally lower than the second half of 2022, it still surpassed the 500,000-ton threshold.

In addition, considering that China banned the import of Japanese seafood after Japan discharged nuclear wastewater, consumers may choose seafood from safe areas and eat more vannamei, which may lead to the import of more vannamei products.

Ecuador has played a pivotal role in driving China’s import growth in recent years, contributing close to 600,000 tons in 2022. If this trajectory persists, Ecuador’s exports to China may escalate to 900,000 tons in 2023.

China's Main Vannamei Suppliers | Ocean Treasure
China's Other Vannamei Suppliers | Ocean Treasure

Furthermore, India’s exports to China have exhibited gradual growth over the years, although the imports for the first half of 2023 appear to be slightly lower compared to the corresponding period in 2022. Meanwhile, Argentina’s vannamei exports to China have garnered attention, with figures for the first half of 2023 matching the total exports for the entire year of 2022. Projections for 2023 suggest that Argentina’s production is likely to return to approximately 2019-2020 levels, positioning it as China’s third-largest supplier for the year.

In terms of overall imports, China recorded a substantial import value of US$2.8 billion for vannamei in the first half of 2023, reflecting a 30% increase from the same period in 2022. The average import price per kilogram has experienced an upward trajectory, rising from approximately US$5-5.5 during the peak of the epidemic to around US$6.5-7 in mid-2022. However, prices later experienced a decline attributed to oversupply in the market.

U.S. Vannamei Imports

U.S. Vannamei Imports | Ocean Treasure

In the first half of 2023, U.S. vannamei imports amounted to 361,692 tons, marking a year-on-year decrease of 18%. While this presents a challenging scenario for many U.S. suppliers, a potential positive aspect is the stabilization of import volumes from Q1 to Q2. Notably, import figures in Q2 were not significantly higher than the previous quarter, a departure from the trend observed since the decline in Q4 2021. Continuation of the decline observed in the first half of 2023 could lead to a scenario where total U.S. vannamei imports in 2023 reach the lowest level seen in recent years.

Major Vannamei Suppliers to the United States | Ocean Treasure

Despite India’s continued status as the largest exporter of vannamei to the United States, its market share has experienced a decline in recent years. This shift can be attributed to increased exports from other countries, notably Ecuador, which has made inroads into India’s shelled product market. However, it is noteworthy that even Ecuador is expected to face challenges in achieving export growth to the United States in 2023. The evolving dynamics among major vannamei-exporting nations underscore the competitive landscape and changing trends in the U.S. shrimp market.

U.S. Vannamei Import Categories Change | Ocean Treasure

From a product category perspective, the import volumes of peeled vannamei and shelled vannamei in the United States experienced a decline to 369,796 tons and 251,067 tons, respectively, between 2021 and 2022. This trend persisted in the first half of 2023, witnessing year-on-year reductions of 9% and 20% for the two categories, respectively. In contrast to these primary import categories, the import volumes of value-added vannamei (primarily cooked vannamei) and breaded vannamei reached record levels of 142,958 tons and 70,948 tons during the period of 2021-2022. However, the scenario shifted in the first half of 2023, as imports of these two types of products decreased by approximately 30% year-on-year, respectively.

EU Imports Continue to Decline

During the initial half of 2023, EU imported a total of 141,107 tons of vannamei, reflecting a year-on-year decrease of 9%. This period has proven to be challenging for Asian vannamei exporters to EU, as the total vannamei imports into EU have experienced a decline for three consecutive quarters.

EU Vannamei Import situation from 2019 to 2023 | Ocean Treasure

According to Global Shrimp Forum, EU vannamei imports would drop by 15% in the second half of 2023, with total imports of less than 290,000 tons.

Asian vannamei exporters express heightened concerns as the European Union’s import volume and market share of Latin American vannamei have exhibited an upward trend over the years, contrasting with the declining import volume and market share of Asian vannamei. Analyzing the performance of the European Union’s primary suppliers of frozen raw vannamei, Ecuador experienced a year-on-year decline in exports to the EU in the first half of 2023. In contrast, India’s exports to the EU saw a slight increase during the same period. This shift suggests that India is increasingly directing its focus toward the European Union, possibly in response to intense competition in the U.S. market.

Major Suppliers of Raw Vannamei to EU from 2020 to H1 2023 | Ocean Treasure

Simultaneously, Venezuela has witnessed an increase in its exports to the European Union, reclaiming the third position among the EU’s principal suppliers. Notably, Venezuela’s contributions extend beyond shipping Head-On Shell-On (HOSO) products, as it also provides substantial quantities of vannamei products to reprocessors in the Netherlands and Belgium. These products are primarily intended for local processing and subsequent distribution to the retail market. This multifaceted approach underscores Venezuela’s diversified role in the European vannamei market.

Japan’s Vannamei Imports are Declining

In the first half of 2023, Japan imported 83,579 tons of vannamei, a year-on-year decrease of 9%. Import volume fell by 7% and 10% year-on-year respectively in the first and second quarters. Overall, import trends are similar to previous years.

Interestingly, Japan’s growth trend stands in contrast to that of most other markets. Over the past decade, Japanese vannamei imports have seen a reduction from 300,000 tons to 200,000 tons. If this trend persists, there is a possibility that imports may stabilize at around 180,000 tons. However, over the past three years, imports of high value-added vannamei have grown steadily, rebounding to 68,000 tons in 2022.

Japan’s Vannamei Import Situation from 2019 to 2023 | Ocean Treasure

Future Outlook

China’s annual vannamei shrimp production currently stands at approximately 1.5 million tons. Over recent years, the vannamei market has experienced a shortage in supply. As the number of imported vannamei shrimp has increased annually, China’s domestic production has also seen a rapid expansion.

Ocean Treasure provides Vannamei shrimp in different presentations, namely HOSO, HLSO, PUD, PD, PTO, PDTO, and Butterfly. For each order, we have a strict quality control process to ensure its top quality. And we are certified by BRC, ASC, and MSC, which require the highest quality standards worldwide. Contact our professional teams, and we will provide the best product at the correct prices.

 | Ocean Treasure

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