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Shrimp sales to US may slump

Update: August, 11/2015 - 08:40
Workers at Thong Thuan Company in southern Ninh Thuan Province work on a shrimp processing line. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
HA NOI  (VNS) — The Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has forecast shrimp exports to the US to fall by 40 per cent this year to US$638 million.

It expects increased demand in the US in the second half of 2015 thanks to lower anti-dumping taxes and falling supply from India, Thailand, and Ecuador due to shrimp diseases, rising cost of farming and lower export prices.

However, it said Viet Nam is unlikely to benefit because of the dong's strength.

Many other currencies have fallen against the greenback, making their products more attractive, it said.

As a result of the devaluation, shrimp import prices in the US fell 20 per cent in the first half of this year to $10 per kilogramme.

While economists have been calling for a devaluation of the dong by another 7-10 per cent, the State Bank of Viet Nam said it would not weaken the dong any more than the 2 per cent by which it already has this year to protect the country's interests.

Thus, though the prices of Vietnamese exports to the US have declined by $1.5-2 per kilogramme this year, they remain $1.5-2 higher than products from competitors like India, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Viet Nam's other two major importers, Japan and the EU, have also cut imports by 18.6 per cent and 15.2 per cent respectively and are looking for cheaper products.

Exports to China and South Korea also fell sharply, with demand in the former market being hit by the recent crash in the stock market, which has caused belt-tightening among the middle class.

By July 15 Viet Nam's year-to-date shrimp exports to the US were worth a mere $284.6 million, or down by more than half year-on-year.

The association said the US, the biggest importer of the country's shrimp products, accounts for 20 per cent of shrimp exports from Viet Nam.

Overall shrimp exports were down 28 per cent to $1.4 billion. — VNS

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