Seafood exporters advised to keep close watch on market development

Following the outbreak of the acute respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) earlier this year, Chinese consumers may change their eating habits, and shift to intensively processed products, especially seafood, according to market watchers.

seafood exporters advised to keep close watch on market development hinh 0
Tra fish being processed for exports (Photo: VNA)

Therefore, domestic seafood exporters should keep a close watch on the market development to adjust their plans, they said, adding exporters should also diversify export markets and boost domestic consumption.

Seafood exporters are feeling the pinch from the sharp decline in their shipments to China as the epidemic is limiting border trade and sapping demand in the world’s second-largest economy, according to insiders.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said the closure of border gates due to the COVID-19 outbreak could reduce at least 20 percent of Vietnamese seafood exports to China in the first quarter of 2020, as shipments through border gates are accounting for 20 percent of the total seafood exports to the neighbouring nation.

Massive shutdown of restaurants and food retail chains in China has led to a contraction in Chinese demand for seafood. Meanwhile, trade exchange between Vietnam and China has been hampered by disappointing transportation system, cancellation of orders, and stagnant production due to a shortage of workers.

VASEP forecast that if the epidemic ends in the first quarter, seafood shipments to China during January-March will fall at least 40 percent to 265 million USD as compared to the previous quarter. Exports are believed to revive in the following quarters, making total shipments to China surge 5 percent to 1.5 billion USD for the whole year.

In a worse scenario, seafood production and export activities will be impacted until August. In this case, exports to China are likely to dwindle 30 percent to 400 million USD in the first half while the amount during July-December would surge 10 percent to 930 million USD. With the results, the total seafood exports to China are estimated to taper off 6 percent to around 1.33 billion USD.