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Thai Shrimp Could Benefit From Limited World Supply

by the Fish Site Editor
07 April 2010, at 1:00am

THAILAND - The current outbreak of infectious myonecrosis virus in shrimp farms in Indonesia and Brazil is likely to widen the export market for Thai shrimp, say local exporters.

The virus, which reduces the appetite and stunts the development of shrimp, could benefit Thai exports, Arthon Piboonthanapatana, secretary-general of the Thai Frozen Foods Association told The Bangkok Post.

Indonesia is the world's second-largest shrimp exporter after Thailand. Indonesian products compete closely with Thai goods in major markets such as the US and Japan.

Last year, Indonesia sold 37,297 tonnes of shrimp products to Japan, with Thailand second in the market with sales of 36,000 tonnes. In the US market, Thailand led the industry with 176,870 tonnes of shrimp products, compared with 90,000 tonnes from Indonesia.

Mr Arthon said Thai shrimp producers could increase their share of these markets, although price would be a key issue. "Raw material prices remain strong while the baht has strengthened too much and these factors will lessen the competitiveness of Thai shrimp exports," he said.

Local shrimp was priced this week at 150 baht for 40 head per kilogramme, up from 140 baht earlier this year.

The Thai Frozen Foods Association forecasts exports of Thai shrimp this year at 405,541 tonnes - 243,324 tonnes of raw commodity and 162,216 tonnes of processed products.

Export revenue is expected to climb by 7.6 per cent from last year to US$2.79 billion - $1.503 billion from fresh shrimp and $1.288 billion from processed products.

Srirat Rastapana, director-general of the Department of Export Promotion, said strong exports in the first two months this year suggest growth forecasts will be met.

Exports of chilled and frozen shrimp in first two months rose by 36 per cent year-on-year to $196 million in value, she said. In baht terms, the value rose 31 per cent to about 6.4 billion baht.

The infectious myonecrosis virus has prompted Thailand to ban imports of three types of shrimp from Indonesia and Brazil, she said.

the Fish Site Editor