Tiger prawn prices up but tra fish all at sea

Monday, Jul 29, 2013 09:15


Prices of tra fish and tiger prawn are moving in opposite directions in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delt awith the former declining and the latter rising..—Photo fistene

by Le Hung Vong

(Biz Hub)—Prices of tra fish and tiger prawn are moving in opposite directions in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, with the former declining and the latter rising.

In early July tra prices went down sharply, leaving farmers unhappy.

Le Chi Binh, deputy chairman of An Giang Aqua-Culture Association, said the price of grade 1 tra stood at VND18,500-19,000 per kilogramme on July 24, leaving breeders to count losses of VND3,000 per kilogramme.

Plentiful supply from farms in the region and lower export prices are major causes for the decline in the local market, Binh said.

As a result, tra fish breeding ponds in An Giang, one of the provinces with the largest pond area in the delta, have shrunk by 18 per cent from last year to 779 ha.

The area, once around 2,200ha, could drop further as many farmers have given up breeding tra after the last harvest and switched to other kinds of fish.

Tong Minh Chanh, a tra farmer in Long Son commune in An Giang Province's Phu Tan District, said to avoid further losses from exports, he switched to farming the fish for domestic consumption, but the situation has not improved.

"I've decided to farm fry and breed loach," he told Viet Nam News.

Farmers also face problems when selling tra since buyers have many other sources of supply.

Le Van Loc of Tan Nhuan Dong commune in Dong Thap Province's Chau Thanh District, said he had two hectares of mature tra (of 600-700 grammes each, market price VND20,500-21,000 per kilogramme), but buyers were late to come.

But once the fish becomes oversized (over 700 grammes), prices fall to just VND18,000-19,000.

Unlike tra farmers, however, prawn farmers are happy because prices have gone up relentlessly in the past few months. Prawns weighing 50 grammes are now selling for VND230,000-240,000 per kilogramme, and those weighing 25 grammes fetch VND155,000.

Tran Thanh Tan, a farmer in Kien Giang Province's An Minh District, had sold 600kg of prawn from his 2ha pond.

He said if farmers harvest 250-300kg per hectare, they can get some profits since costs are not too high.

Many businesses too have invested in shrimp farming.

According to Nguyen Van Thanh, head of the Kien Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's aquaculture division, farmers and businesses in the province have nearly 2,000 ha of shrimp farms, mainly in the Long Xuyen Quadrilateral.

Steel, cement sectors to pay more for power

Power price hikes topped the agenda in an on-line discussion titled "for sustainable development of the local steel and cement industries" held in Ha Noi on Wednesday.

Tran Viet Ngai, chairman of the Energy of Viet Nam Association, said Vietnamese customers pay an average of VND1,600 (US$0.076) for a kWh of electricity compared with $0.1 in other countries in the region.

To operate all the power plants in existence by 2020, the sector needs 80 million tonnes of coal compared with some 30 million tonnes expected to be mined in the country this year.

Thus, Viet Nam will have to import coal for its thermal power plants, according to Ngai.

He said electricity prices will then rise to VND8,000-9,000 per kWh. "The electricity sector has suffered great losses."

Bui Quang Chuyen, deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Heavy Industry Department, said steel and cement plants consumed 12 per cent of the country's electric output in 2010 and 11.4 per cent last year.

In 2013 the steel sector is expected to produce 5.3 million tonnes of ingot and 10 million tonnes of steel, an increase of 10 per cent compared with last year.

The supply of some steel products exceeds demand while others are imported to meet domestic demand.

Most steel plants in the country are small and use outdated technologies that are not environmentally friendly, Chuyen said.

Nguyen Van Thien, chairman of the Viet Nam National Cement Association, said the country is expected to achieve cement output of 75 million tonnes by 2015, 10 million higher than demand by that time.

Nguyen Tien Nghi, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Steel Association, said power price hikes would raise costs for the steel and cement sectors, causing them problems since prices of steel and cement products cannot be raised.

Nghi said any power price hikes would have negative impacts on these two sectors and affect the country's economy.

Ngai of the Viet Nam Energy Association said the steel and cement sectors have to adopt the latest technologies that help them use power effectively and profitably.

Chuyen summed up by saying hiking power price is "a must."

He added that by 2020 any manufacturer using electricity inefficiently would face bankruptcy because the high production costs would render them uncompetitive.

Phones, components biggest dollar earners

Exports of mobile phones and components in the first half doubled to over $11 billion from last year.

According to figures released by the customs, phone and component exports helped reduce the country's trade deficit in the first half to less than $1 billion, much lower than forecast.

In the period Viet Nam's exports amounted to over $61.54 billion, a year-on-year increase of 15.1 per cent, and imports topped $62.47 billion, up 15.6 per cent.

Thus deficit of $933 million is much lower than the original estimation of $1.4 billion by the National Statistics Office earlier this year.

Korean giant Samsung's investment and exports from its plant in the northern province of Bac Ninh is one of the major reasons for the sharp rise in phone and component exports this year.

Exports by the Samsung factory in the first six months were worth some $11 billion, or almost hitting the level of $12.6 billion recorded in the whole of last year, according to the Bac Ninh Industrial Zones Authority.

Samsung has played an important role in making mobile phones and components the top export item for Viet Nam. With a huge contribution from the company, phones and components are expected to fetch around $20 billion this year.

Their exports were worth $1.88 billion in June, a slump of 13 per cent from May.

The export of mobile phones and components grew 198.4 per cent in 2011 and 98.8 per cent last year.

In the first half of this year this exports grew by 98.4 per cent.

Viet Nam exported to 30 countries and territories, with over 20 of them each importing more than $100 million worth.

Samsung's Bac Ninh plant provided jobs for around 40,000 workers. While delivering a strong export performance, the facility has also imported a significant volume. In the first half, its imports in fact cost over US$9.3 billion. — VNS

Comments (1)

Đường xá nhà nước phải đi vay mượn quốc tế làm mới và mở rộng để phát triển kinh tế, vậy mà các doanh nghiệp vận tải cùng cánh lái xe của họ cố tình chở quá tải do lợi nhuận, phá hỏng các công trình đó. Đã thế chính quyền địa phương lại buông lỏng quản lý, không mạnh tay với các đối tượng này, thậm còn có nơi bao che cùng hợp tác "làm ăn". Trách nhiệm của họ đến đâu sao ít thấy xử lý?

Nguyễn Hùng - Tuesday, 02/06/2015, 10:35 Reply | Like