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Seafood exports in February and first 2 months of 2023 

 Monday, March 20,2023

AsemconnectVietnam - According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the export value of seafood in February of 2023 was estimated at 550 million USD, bringing the country’s total export value of seafood in the first two months of 2023 to 1.01 billion USD, down by 32.9% compared to the same period last year.

Japan, the US and China were the top 3 export markets of Vietnamese seafood, accounting for 45.6% of the total seafood export value. The reason for the decrease was due to economic and political fluctuations, commodity and food inflation affecting consumer demand and business plans in markets, especially large markets of Vietnamese seafood, such as America, Europe, Japan, and China.
However, while the exports in large markets decreased sharply, there was a shift to small markets, recording a breakthrough growth in revenue, such as the exports to Israel increased by 17%, to Indonesia increased by 8%, to Cameroon increased by 15%, to Laos increased by 21%, to Chile increased by 7%. It is forecasted that in the first quarter of 2023, Vietnam’s seafood exports may be 15-20% lower than the same period in 2022. After the international seafood fairs in March, April, along with the adaptation and boom of the seafood industry, the Chinese market and the strategic adjustment of Vietnamese seafood enterprises, the country’s seafood exports are expected to gradually recover from the second quarter of 2023.
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), Vietnam’s total seafood export value in February of 2023 reached about 662 million USD, a slight increase of 4% compared to the same period of 2022.
In the first two months of this year, the country’s seafood exports reached over 1.1 billion USD, down by 26% over the same period of 2022. Of which, the exports of pangasius still fell by 38% to 240 million USD, while the exports of shrimp decreased by 37% to 350 million USD, the exports of tuna decreased by 27% to reach 113 million USD.
Several seafood export items, such as squid, octopus and marine fish tend to be more positive with a growth of 6% each, reaching 103 million USD and 273 million USD, respectively.
Vietnam’s exports of seafood to China began to show positive signs. In February of this year, the value of seafood exports to this market increased by 33% to 122 million USD. Accumulated in the first two months of the year, Vietnam’s exports of goods to China reached 158 million USD, down by 7% over the same period last year.
The US and EU markets still have not shown signs of recovery in February, so the country’s exports of goods to those markets still decreased by 35% and 8% respectively over the same period of 2022. As of the end of February of 2023, Vietnam’s seafood exports to the US market reached 164 million USD, down by 53%, and the exports to the EU market fell by 32% to 123 million USD.
Vietnam’s seafood exports to South Korea, CPTPP countries and some other markets also tend to be more positive.
Particularly, the exports to the South Korean market increased by 26% in February, and to the CPTPP bloc increased by 14%. However, due to a sharp decrease in January, the results for the first 2 months of the year to these markets were still lower than in the same period last year.
According to VASEP, the demand of the markets is tending to gradually recover, especially the Chinese market and many other small markets. The source of aquatic materials (shrimp, pangasius) will also increase in the next month, so the exports in March and April will increase gradually compared to the first months of the year.
Vietnam’s exports of seafood to UK increased in the first two months of 2023
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), in the first two months of 2023, the UK was among the very few markets with positive growth in imports of Vietnamese seafood. Specifically, while Vietnam’s exports of seafood to the top 10 largest markets all decreased by 18 - 50% over the same period, only the UK - the 6th largest market, still maintained an increase of 22%.
By mid-February 2023, Vietnam’s pangasius exports to the UK market reached nearly 7 million USD, accounting for 4.5% of export value to markets. Particularly in the first half of February of 2023, pangasius exports to the UK increased dramatically by 142% over the same period last year.
Last year, the UK was also in the top 6 Vietnamese pangasius import markets, but only accounted for 2.6% of the total with nearly 64 million USD, up by 24% compared to 2021.
The UK has the highest inflation rate among major economies. By January 2023, the inflation rate in this country was still 10.1%, 5 times higher than the target set by the Bank of England.
The UK seafood consumption trends are changing because of the high inflation. Instead of consuming more fresh/chilled seafood, today British people are increasing their consumption of frozen seafood. In the UK, people between the ages of 50 and 75 consume the most fish, spending up to £4 a week on fish products. Meanwhile, people under 30 spend an average of just £1.9 a week on fish.
The white fish is the most favourite product in the UK, commonly used in fish & chips. Each year, the imports of white fish into this market reach from 800 million to 1 billion USD.
Last year, the imports of white fish into the UK market decreased by nearly 8%, of which the biggest decrease was pollock (down by 43%), cod decreased by 13%. The economic decline and the war between Russia and Ukraine have affected fish consumption and imports of this country.
Last year, Vietnam's pangasius accounted for 5% of the UK's total imports of white fish. This proportion is likely to be higher in 2023, when the UK economy is still heavily affected by inflation, the Russia-Ukraine war still limits the supply of cod and pollock to this market. Fish & chip dishes may have to use more pangasius and other white fish to replace cod and pollock.
The advantage of preferential tariffs under the Vietnam - United Kingdom and Northern Ireland Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA Agreement) is also an opportunity for businesses to take advantage of, especially in the context that importers want to find sources of competitively priced goods for their domestic market.
Therefore, along with China, VASEP forecasts, the UK market is also an optimistic destination for pangasius businesses in 2023.
Source: VITIC/


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