Aquaculture for all

Shrimp Exports To Continue To Increase

Crustaceans Economics +2 more

THAILAND - Thai shrimp exports this year are expected to rise by five to six per cent to almost 371,000 tonnes worth US$2.78 billion, says the Thai Frozen Foods Association.

President Panisuan Jamnarnwej attributed the increase to competitors suffering natural disasters that have turned importers to buy from Thailand instead.

By year-end, shrimp exports will have reached 370,766 tonnes, with the value of $2.78 billion representing an increase of eight to nine per cent from last year.

But in baht terms the export value will rise by only three per cent due to the currency's appreciation, said Dr Panisuan.

He cautioned that the increase in exports was not an indictor of industry stability, as food processors and exporters are still suffering heavy losses from baht appreciation and rising shrimp prices relative to the currency's value due to high market demand.

Fishmeal prices are also rising. Though most of it is imported, prices have not come down in line with the weaker US dollar, so processors are unable to absorb the cost of raw materials imported for use in their export products.

Next year, the price of large shrimp is expected to increase from 100 baht to a kilogramme (about 50 shrimp) to 105 baht. But the price increase for smaller shrimp (100 per kg) could be much greater, from 50 baht to 115 baht, due to high foreign demand, said Dr Parisuan.

He said farmers would thus be encouraged to raise more small shrimp too quickly, not allowing their farms time to recover, increasing the risk of shrimp diseases.

At the same time, the price increases for shrimp may force consumers to turn more toward alternatives such as chicken, pork and beef.

All these factors together could cause a drop of five to six per cent in Thai shrimp exports next year, while export value would also decrease due to the strengthening baht.

Thailand's main shrimp export market is the US, which takes half of the country's output.

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