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GLOBEFISH - Análisis e información comercial en pesquerias

Pangasius trade shrinking


The report analyses the market situation until June 2017 

Demand for pangasius remains robust in Latin America and Asia, with both regions posting positive growth in imports during the first half of 2017, even amidst strengthening prices. Worldwide, imports of frozen pangasius have fallen by approximately 2.5 percent mainly due to lower imports into the single largest market, the United States of America. Meanwhile, efforts are being taken by several countries in Asia to ensure sufficient supply enters their domestic markets while they also working to develop a low cost feed formulation.

Viet Nam

Vietnamese pangasius exports to the EU28 this year are expected to continue to weaken while China is forecasted to overtake the United States of America in imports, thereby becoming the largest export market for Vietnamese pangasius in the near future. In addition to the anti-dumping tax that has been in place since the 2000s, Vietnamese firms are now facing new challenges from the US catfish inspection program, which was moved under the US Department of Agriculture on 1 September. modern

In a move to promote pangasius in the northern region of Viet Nam, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development recently organized a fair to promote products made from pangasius and other seafood. The first of its kind, the fair was held in Hanoi and aimed at consumers in the northern region of Viet Nam, where pangasius is virtual unknown. The fair also targeted international markets, particularly China.

The United States of America

A combination of higher than average import prices during the review period, high anti-dumping tariffs and new import regulations are among the reasons for the 18 percent decline in total US frozen catfish imports during the first half of 2017. Imports of frozen fillets, which make up 94 percent of US catfish imports, posted a sharp fall. However, there was a notable increase (+24 percent in volume) in imports of frozen catfish (Ictalurus sp) fillets, mostly from China.

European Union

As has been the long-term trend, demand for pangasius continued to weaken in the first half of 2017, with a 25 percent fall in total imports (whole and frozen) when compared with the same time period last year. Imports also declined significantly into the largest markets within the EU28; Spain and the United Kingdom. Frozen fillet imports, which make up the bulk of the imports, decreased by 27 percent in volume terms to total 38 500 tonnes while average import prices increased by 2.7 percent.


Pangasius continues to be in strong demand throughout Asia while also playing an important part in local food security, both indirectly through generating income from farming and directly via domestic consumption.

During January–June 2017, approximately 61 000 tonnes of frozen pangasius were imported into Asia, an increase of 21 percent compared with the same period in 2016. China has emerged as the largest importer in Asia, overtaking Thailand and posting 48 percent growth in imports during the review period. In total, China imported 13 600 tonnes of frozen fillets and 5 900 tonnes of frozen whole product during the first half of 2017. Thailand was close behind, importing a total of 13 800 tonnes. Imports also increased into most Asian countries, including a notable 81 percent increase to India to reach 4 500 tonnes of pangasius. Imports only declined for Singapore and Taiwan Province of China.

In the Philippines, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in the Cagayan Valley (Region 2) announced an imminent ban on the retail of imported frozen fish and fishery products. The fishery products covered are those commonly known as "frozen" and include pangasius as well as mackerel, bonito, squid, sardines, salmon and salmon heads. Following the announcement, it was clarified that the importation of these fishery products is not prohibitedm rather the regulation states that these products should go only to institutional buyers such as canneries, restaurant chains and fish processing plants, with imports prohibited for wet markets to direct consumers.

Latin America

Latin America has emerged as the strongest market for Viet Nam following the slow down in the major markets of the EU28 and the United States of America. In the first half of 2017, Latin America imported 15 percent more frozen pangasius compared with the first half of 2017 to total 75 000 tonnes of whole frozen and frozen fillets. In the frozen fillet category, Brazil overtook Mexico to become the largest importer with a 22 percent increase in imports. Average import prices increased by 39 percent for whole frozen and 7 percent for frozen fillets.

Photo credit: Philipp Manila Sonderegger on FlickR (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


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