According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the long-lasting COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the global trade of seafood, changing the trend of aquatic products consumption. Vietnam's main products export, therefore, has fluctuated following market trends, leading to an increase in exports of white leg shrimp, marine shrimp, sea fish, and crab but a sharp decrease in exports of pangasius and a slight drop in exports of tuna, squid, and octopus.
However, the export turnover of seafood to the main markets, such as the EU, China, Japan, and Korea only slightly decreased by 3 - 6%, while the export turnover to the largest market, the US, still increased significantly by 10%. Additionally, the exports to other markets such as Russia, the UK, Australia, and Canada even increased strongly by 10 - 32%.
Although the seafood export turnover of Vietnam in the first quarter and second quarter of 2020 fell sharply by 10% and 7%, respectively, it started to recover and grow from the third quarter. By the end of 2020, the seafood output of Vietnam was estimated at 8.4 million tons, which was a slight increase of 3% compared to 2019. The seafood export turnover reached USD 8.4 billion, down 1.9% compared to the previous year. In which, the export turnover of aquaculture products including shrimp and pangasius reached USD 5.2 billion, accounting for 62% of the total seafood export turnover. The export value of exploited seafood reached USD 3.2 billion, accounting for 38%.
Also, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, seafood export enterprises had a regressed business year on the stock market. Cuu Long Fish Joint Stock Company (ACL) was one of the seafood enterprises most impacted by the pandemic, with a decrease in its revenue and profit of 49% and 80% compared to 2019, respectively. To be specific, the net revenue reached VND 951 billion, and the profit after tax reached VND 28.7 billion.
Similarly, other enterprises in the industry were in the same situation. The profit of Vinh Hoan Joint Stock Company fell from VND 1,179 billion in 2019 to VND 704 billion in 2020. The accumulated losses of Ngo Quyen Processing Export Joint Stock Company were up to VND 31 billion due to interruption in transactions with customers and no export orders.
According to VASEP, the seafood trade situation in 2021 is forecasted to still be heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is even the main factor that dominates Vietnam's trend of seafood export and import. However, Vietnam can maintain its competitive advantage in raw material supply compared to other countries.
Moreover, free trade agreements will continue to be a lever for Vietnam's seafood exports to recover in some markets. Enterprises will have more experience and flexibility to adapt to changes in the demands and tastes of the market after a year of pandemic. To conquer the variety of markets, it is necessary to create a clear difference for the product in both quality and form, to compete with similar products from other countries such as India and Indonesia.
According to the General Department of Customs, the seafood export turnover in January 2021 was estimated at USD 600 million, up nearly 20% over the same period in 2020. The US, Japan, China, and South Korea were the top four import markets of Vietnamese seafood. VASEP forecasts that the seafood export turnover in 2021 will have better results than 2020, estimated at USD 8.8 billion, up by nearly 5%.
Compiled by VietnamCredit