Vietnam's catfish export price drops

The catfish price has been decreasing sharply this year after two years of staying at high levels.

A review conference held in March 2019 heard that in 2018 the catfish export turnover reached $2.26 billion, an increase of 26.5 percent compared with 2017. The farming output soared by 20 percent to the record high of 1.4 million tons. This was a good year for Vietnam’s catfish industry with both high output and high price.

Vietnam's catfish export price drops



The catfish prices stayed high for 24 months, from 2017 to early 2019, escalating from VND25,000 per kilogram to VND36,000 per kilogram in October 2018. This prompted farmers to expand the farming area.

However, in March 2019, the catfish price unexpectedly fell from the VND30,000 per kilogram threshold. In June 2019, the catfish price fell to below VND20,000 per kilogram and hovered around the level for many months.

The sharp fall in catfish price was blamed on stagnant exports and the new Chinese policy on stopping imports of catfish across border gates.

Though the price decreased, the catfish exports were fairly good by June 2019. In H1, Vietnam exported $961 million worth of catfish, just a slight decrease of 4.1 percent compared with the same period 2018.

Analysts also pointed out that the catfish price plummeted because of uncontrolled development of the farming area, which led to the oversupply.

 

Though the price decreased, the catfish exports were fairly good by June 2019. In H1, Vietnam exported $961 million worth of catfish, just a slight decrease of 4.1 percent compared with the same period 2018.

The decreases were mostly seen in the US market (28 percent). Meanwhile, the exports to the EU increased by 18 percent and China 1.2 percent.

The figures showed the high output increase in 2018 and 2019, which put pressure on consumption and caused the price reduction.

In the first nine months of the year, catfish exports brought turnover of $1.46 billion, a 8.5 percent decrease compared with the same period last year.

China was the leading market with export turnover of $450 million, which accounted for 31 percent of market share. Meanwhile, the US market saw a sharp decrease of 43.6 percent in export turnover.

In October 2019, the catfish price hovered around VND20,000 per kilogram. There is still a large amount of processed catfish in factories’ storehouses and a large amount of fish in ponds.

As of mid-October, the fish harvested had reached 950,000 tons, down by 12 percent compared with 2018. However, the figure was still high compared with the years prior to 2018.

Analysts said exports always increase in the last months of the year and the first month of the new year. If things go smoothly, catfish export turnover may hit $2 billion, lower than 2018 but still higher than the years before 2018. However, the price is believed to continue to stay at a low level in Q1 2020.

Kim Chi 

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