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Shrimp Exports To Remain Stable

THAILAND - Thailand, the world's largest supplier, is expected to export 400,000 tonnes of shrimp and prawns worth about Bt100 billion next year thanks to stable supply and demand, the Thai Shrimp Association said yesterday.

Thai export volume grew 11 per cent to 355,211 tonnes in the first 10 months of this year, increasing 8 per cent year on year to Bt83 billion in value. Full-year exports are expected to reach 400,000 tonnes.

The association's president, Somsak Paneetatyasai, said traders and farmers would focus on improvements in quality and sustainability rather than quantity in order to stabilise prices.

"Exports next year will be unchanged from this year. Key players in the industry, namely farmers, traders, manufacturers and exporters, have to focus on safety standards in a bid to stabilise prices," he said.

In addition, the association is still worried about the continued economic crunch in the US, Japan and the euro zone, which are major import markets, besides which the baht's appreciation will affect the Kingdom's exports next year.

To ensure stable export growth, Somsak said companies should no longer rely mainly on the US, which is the Kingdom's biggest market. Sales to the US should be reduced from the current 46 per cent of overall exports to 35 per cent.

Japan accounts for 18 per cent of Thai shrimp exports, the European Union for 16 per cent and Australia for 2 per cent.

Overall US imports grew slightly in the first nine months of the year, by 0.17 per cent to 386,833 tonnes. Thai exports to the US increased 5.45 per cent to 135,850 tonnes during the period.

To ensure sustainable growth, Somsak said government agencies must have stringent control measures in place to prevent against any outbreak of IMNV disease. In particular, the import of broodstock should not be allowed.

Shrimp prices next year are expected to be as stable as this year's. The price for large produce will likely be Bt155 per kilogram (50 units per kilo), and small shrimp will fetch Bt125 (70 units per kilo). Last year's prices were Bt130-Bt135 and Bt110-Bt115, respectively.

Mr Panneetatyasai said that if prices were stable next year, demand would be unchanged. Thai exports should grow steadily in subsequent years after focusing on quality improvement to meet global concerns.

He added that despite an increase in minimum wages that will increase their burden, businesses should be able to manage their costs and maintain stable retail prices.

Thailand's shrimp and prawn cluster consists of 1.5 million farmers and labourers on a total farm area of 30,000 rai.

The association also reported that global production had increased by six per cent to 2.3 million tonnes this year. Many producing countries have been affected by problems such as IMNV disease, flooding and oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico.

Thai production will reach 640,000 tonnes, an increase of 14 per cent from last year. Vannamei production is expected to total 635,000 tonnes, with black tiger prawns accounting for the remainder.

the Fish Site Editor

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