Việt Nam may struggle to reach pangasius export target in 2023

Thursday, Jul 27, 2023 08:42

Dương Nghĩa Quốc, chairman of Việt Nam Pangasius Association

Pangasius exports during the first half of the year were estimated at $885 million, a 38 per cent decline compared to the same period of the previous year. The indications of a rebound in exports remain exceedingly faint, posing considerable challenges for Việt Nam to attain its pangasius export target in 2023.

Dương Nghĩa Quốc, chairman of the Việt Nam Pangasius Association, spoke with Việt Nam News reporter Tố Như regarding this matter.

Regarding the outlook on seafood exports, how would you assess the performance of pangasius exports in the first half of this year?

According to VASEP, in the first six months of 2023, total seafood export turnover reached US$4.13 billion, down 27.4 per cent over the same period in 2022, reaching 41.5 per cent of the plan.

Of which, pangasius exports in the first six months were estimated at $885 million, 38 per cent lower than the same period of last year. This figure in June was estimated at $156 million, a reduction of 26 per cent on year.

Việt Nam saw a strong reduction in pangasius exports to large markets such as China and the US in June. The pangasius export value fell by 15 per cent on year to $49.7 million to China, and 51.5 per cent to $22.5 million to the US.

The reason was that by the end of 2022, large markets such as the US and EU, imported a lot, while consumption also slowed down. The world economic crisis also slowed consumption. Those factors led to high inventory, so the pangasius imports declined in the first half of this year.

Meanwhile, China is considered a potential destination in 2023 after COVID-19. However, the recovery of this market was still sluggish in the first half of this year. Viet Nam's seafood exports to this market decreased by nearly 30 per cent.

The decrease in exports has led to a decrease in the domestic price of pangasius raw materials. How has that situation affected pangasius processing businesses and farming households?

The export market situation is beyond the expectations of businesses and associations. In 2022, many forecasts said that the export market had been good. If there had been a decline, it was a slight reduction until the end of the second quarter of 2023. However, all are just predictions.

The decrease in exports has caused a fall in the price of pangasius. Now, the price of pangasius is VNĐ26,000 - 27,000 per kilo. With that price, pangasius farming households may break even, or have a slight loss of VNĐ1,000-2,000 per kilo.

Exporting businesses are also facing many difficulties. Goods could not be sold, forcing them to be put into storage. This includes maintenance costs, workers' wages, and interest on bank loans.

However, the businesses still have to maintain their operation because if they stop production now, they must pay the factory maintenance costs and face losing workers. When they have orders again, they will face a labour shortage.

At present, ministries, associations and the agriculture, as well as the fishery sector, are also promoting trade promotion to boost exports.

In addition, the Government, ministries and sectors are also having policies on credit support for the businesses.

What does the future hold for pangasius exports?

The market outlook is still bad. We do not yet see prospects in our traditional seafood export markets.

If the Chinese market recovers, pangasius exports will surge.

However, I think they want to release all the inventory. At the same time, they do not import goods to force the price of pangasius to decrease.

The US ranks second in terms of Việt Nam's pangasius import market. However, the market recovery signal is also very slow.

The EU market also fell sharply. Particularly, the CPTPP market sector has a brighter export picture.

Can Việt Nam reach the pangasius export target this year?

In the current situation, Việt Nam will find it difficult to reach the pangasius export target of $2.4-2.5 billion in 2023. If, in the third and fourth quarters, the export market has a good signal, the export turnover can reach around $2 billion.

So far, there have been no positive signals in market recovery, while fluctuations in supply-demand are due to war and inflation. Therefore, forecast about the prospect of the global pangasius market is very hard. — VNS

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