Good pangasius demand amidst tight supplies
Approximately 270 000 tonnes of frozen pangasius (both whole and frozen fillets) entered 45 countries during the first half of the year, an 8 percent increase in volume compared with the same period in 2015. Demand for frozen pangasius is the strongest of any product category. The abundance of frozen pangasius fillets in the marketplace has contributed to the popularity of fillet consumption in Asia, where in general consumers' preference have been more for whole fish.
Viet Nam is by far the main producer of pangasius in the world. Severe drought in Viet Nam has affected most crops in the country, including pangasius. Supplies have declined and as a result prices were reported to have increased. Industry sources report that the supply situation is now improving.
During January–June 2016, Vietnamese pangasius exports reached US$790.2 million, up 5.4 percent year-on-year. Exports to the USA, Hong Kong SAR and Brazil all experienced growth in value while exports to the EU, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Mexico, Colombia and Saudi Arabia saw a decline.
Vietnamese pangasius exports experienced significant growth to two of its main markets in the first half of 2016. Indeed, to the USA, export value reached US$106.5 million (+31.4 percent) and to China totalled US$72.5 million (+80.6 percent). The export value to ASEAN for the first half of the year totalled US$67.9 million, down 1.9 percent from the same period last year. Thailand remains a major importer of Vietnamese pangasius with stable export values reported.
In the USA, total frozen catfish import volumes strengthened marginally by 1.2 percent during the first half of 2016. Although average import prices weakened by about 9 percent, industry sources report that current prices are increasing due to a supply shortage in the US market. Myanmar continues to play a new supply role to the US market, though this is not reflected in the figure as volumes remain small for the time being. Also interesting although not visible in the figure is the increase of fresh catfish imports into the market, some 200 tonnes from China.
Year-on-year imports of pangasius (whole and frozen) into the EU did not improve during the first half of 2016. Rather, there was a marginal decline of 1.1 percent, to total 54 200 tonnes. Whole frozen pangasius imports did show growth however, with Viet Nam, Thailand and Myanmar supplying more during January to June this year.
Within the EU, Spain and the UK are the largest markets; imports of pangasius fillets increased into both countries during the reporting periods.
Asia continues to be the largest market for pangasius for all forms; live, fresh, frozen whole and frozen fillets. Approximately 50 000 tonnes of pangasius (whole and fillets) entered Asian markets during the first half of this year. Nearly 90 percent was comprised of frozen fillets as the product category has established strong footing in the Asian market due to its convenience and price. Thailand, China, Singapore and Malaysia were the leading markets during the review period. In markets such as India, the catering sector is increasingly absorbing panagasius fillets. During the review period, India imported nearly 2 500 tonnes of frozen pangasius fillets from Viet Nam.
Hong Kong SAR imported 20 500 tonnes of frozen fish during the first six months of 2016, which is 3.2 percent up in volume and 36 percent up in value from the same period in 2015. Frozen fillet imports comprise most of the freshwater species imported, namely tilapia and pangasius. Viet Nam is the leading supplier of frozen fillets to this market accounting for a 64 percent share in volume.
The Latin America region is the largest import market for pangasius, absorbing nearly 65 000 tonnes (whole and frozen). Mexico and Brazil are the most significant individual markets and together account for 80 percent of the region's pangasius imports.
The report analyses the market situation over the period January-October 2016