Tuna exporters turn to small markets


Tuna exporters turn to small markets
Processing tuna for export at Binh Dinh Seafood Company. Photo: TH

According to Ms Nguyen Ha, tuna market expert of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), Vietnam’s tuna exports to many major markets in February 2023 had a growth year on year. However, February 2022 coincided with lunar Tet, so the export turnover was low.

Currently, the exchange rate difference is causing Vietnamese products to have higher prices than rival countries in major import markets such as the EU and the US. Besides, since last year’s end, orders have tended to be delayed due to the uptrend of raw tuna prices, which resulted in a decrease in Vietnam’s tuna exports year on year.

In the US, Vietnam’s tuna exports continued to decline sharply, down 45% in February 2023, reaching more than 20 million USD. Accumulated in the first 2 months of 2023, exports to the US reached nearly 37 million USD, down 54% compared to the same period in 2022.

In the framework of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), although tuna exports to Japan and Mexico in February 2023 grew very well, reaching 28% and 194%, respectively, over the same period, this growth is still not enough to offset the decrease in exports to the largest market in the bloc in recent times, Canada. Vietnam’s tuna exports to Canada are declining sharply.

In February 2023 alone, tuna exports to this market decreased by 81%, reaching only nearly 800,000 USD, which has affected the export results to the CPTPP market. Furthermore, exports to this market block in February decreased by 13% and accumulated in the first 2 months of the year. As a result, exports decreased by 3% over the same period.

Meanwhile, exports to the EU had a reversal in February. Tuna export turnover to this market increased by 59% compared to February 2022, reaching nearly 14 million USD. This figure enabled the total export turnover to the EU in the first 2 months of the year to be more than 22 million USD, but it was still insufficient to offset the decrease in January. Therefore, it still decreased by 5% over the same period. Exports to all three largest markets in the bloc, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, all grew at a high rate of 77%, 372% and 58%, respectively.

In contrast to the export order decline to major import markets such as the US, Japan, Egypt, and Australia, Vietnam’s other processed tuna exports to Israel in the first month of the year increased at a “galloping” rate of “2,283% over the same period. With this growth rate, from the 10th position in the top markets of other processed tuna imports from Vietnam in January 2022, Israel has risen to the second-largest import market since January 2023.

According to VASEP, the price of whole tuna in the world market has not shown any signs of cooling down, while the preferential tariff quotas are gradually used up. As a result, it is expected to further boost exports of processed tuna products other than HS16, especially Vietnam’s frozen steamed tuna loins, in the first three months of 2023.

In addition to the EU market, Vietnam’s tuna exports to Israel, Thailand and Russia also had impressive growth in February 2023 at 131%, 55% and 255%, respectively.

Besides, the decline in import demand in major markets has shifted tuna exporters to potential small markets. As a result, exports to small markets are experiencing breakthrough growth at 3 digits or more over the same period, such as Korea up 525%, the UK up 182% or Australia at 104%, Finland up 654%, Algeria up 363%.

In 2022, Vietnam’s tuna exports exceeded 1 billion USD for the first time, and it is expected that this year’s exports will recover in the second half of the year.


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