Vietnam's tuna exports increased strongly in the first month of this year, especially to the US market with many orders.
According to tuna export enterprises in Khanh Hoa province, in January, they saw an increase of 3-5 times in tuna import orders and even 10 times compared to December 2020, especially for the US market.
Nguyen Thi Thu Thanh, director of Ben Vung Seafood Co, Ltd., said the company received many orders to export tuna to the US in January. However, the local companies have faced shortages of raw materials for processing tuna products due to a strong reduction in tuna output in many countries such as India and Singapore. This has led to higher prices of raw tuna.
At present, the price has surged to US$5 per kilo of tuna from US$3.5 in November 2020. Le Buu Quoc, head of the Thinh Hung Co, Ltd’s Procurement Department, said that the higher price of imported raw tuna and impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic had pushed the price of tuna up in the domestic market. But businesses still had to buy the material at high prices for processing export products.
Quoc said the company had received many orders to export tuna products to the US, mainly for supermarkets, while restaurants in the US, especially high-end establishments, had not reopened.
Amid the pandemic, export orders to the US helped the company maintain stability in production. Meanwhile, the export price had increased by about 4 percent compared to the previous month.
T&H Nha Trang Co, Ltd. is also receiving orders for tuna from many markets. Therefore, this company has also increased the purchasing price of tuna to VND115,000 per kilo to encourage fishermen to catch the fish.
Huynh Dac Tri, director of the T&H Nha Trang Co, Ltd., said the tuna export markets were under normal operations, excluding the European market that was still tightly controlled. Of which, the consumption of fresh tuna products from Vietnam was stable.
“The US market has not reduced demand. Therefore, the domestic tuna exporters are increasing purchases of raw material to fulfil export contracts because they face a serious shortage,” said Tri.
Nguyen Trung Hieu, head of the Management Board of the Hon Ro fishing port and the South Central Coast seafood market, said in January, most tuna fishing vessels achieved higher output than the previous month.
Specifically, each fishing vessel caught from 30-40 units of tuna fish on average, or 1.2-1.5 tonnes, with some managing 50-80 units of tuna or 2-3 tonnes. Purchasing price of tuna ranges from VND110,000-115,000 per kilo, an increase of about VND10,000-20,000 .
According to the Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had a great impact on the global and Vietnamese tuna industry.
VASEP said that tuna exports in 2021 could not recover due to continuing developments of COVID-19.
Currently, the pandemic is not under control and moreover there is a risk of a rebound, so the global tuna market is expected to not yet recover.
However, the EU market will continue to be the lever for Vietnam's exports of tuna products, such as canned tuna, fresh and frozen tuna, to the EU market in 2021.
Vietnam gained a total export value of US$649 million in 2020 from exporting tuna to 108 markets in the world. The value fell by 9.8%year on year.