US reviews antidumping duties
The Department of Commerce published the final results of the third administrative review of the antidumping duties on shrimp. While this report was positive for shrimp exporters from India, Ecuador, Viet Nam and China, Thailand was given higher duties. Shrimp importers in the US are now expecting results of the review process of the International Trade Commission, which will begin in January and that could possibly revoke antidumping duties, according to a meeting of the National Fisheries Institute. In addition, in a report prepared by the US Labour Department, Thai shrimp companies were accused of using child and forced labour in their production sector. Labour conditions in this sector had already been questioned in a previous report from Yet another concern among Thai exporters is the exchange rate, as the appreciation of the baht is likely to be a barrier for the improvement and diversification of exports. Nevertheless, Thai producers expect to show a 5% increase in their shrimp production and exports, with the USA remaining the main buyer, accounting for over 50% of total exports.
US shrimp imports stable
In the first half of 2009 US shrimp imports remained almost unchanged in terms of volume, totalling 236 076 tonnes. In terms of value, imports fell 2.5% to USD 1 600 million, as a result of lower prices on the world shrimp. Thailand remains the top supplier of shrimp to the US market, with 73 367 tonnes or 31% of total imported volumes. The second main supplier is Indonesia, followed by Ecuador. The six top suppliers which include also Mexico, Viet Nam and China accounted for 81% of total supply of imported shrimp to the US market in the first semester of 2009. Purchases from Mexico grew significantly (+59%) while sales from China fell further (-27%). Headless shell-on frozen shrimp remains the main imported product, with 92 741 tonnes, but its share in total imports fell from 42% to 39%.
Ecuador is the main supplier of headless shell-on frozen shrimp. The second main imported product is peeled frozen shrimp, which accounts for 33% of total imports. Purchases of breaded frozen shrimp were 13% lower. The upcoming Christmas holiday season, when consumption usually peaks, had little impact on imports of shrimp. Total imports up to August fell 2% in terms of volume and 5% in terms of value, with a 3% reduction in unit value. This could be interpreted as being adequate supply for demand that is not improving and remains uncertain in the short term. Efforts to enhance consumption are being taken by the National Fisheries Institute. As consumers are eating out less often because of the recession, the industry is trying to attract consumers by providing a website (www.eatshrimp.com com) giving recipes and suggestions for eating shrimp at home.
Domestic supply grew, pushing down prices
Gulf shrimp landings between January and August grew 38%. This growth in the supply of domestic shrimp added to stock carried over from last season, seriously affecting prices. In some Gulf States, prices in August fell over 50%. The Governor of Louisiana formed a task force in order to analyze the market situation and to prepare measures to help the shrimp sector. Wild American Shrimp Inc, representing the domestic industry, asked the national government to take measures to distinguish wild shrimp from cultured shrimp so that it can be promoted as a wild-caught product.
Prices will increase, but overall level very low
Demand in the US market is likely to remain stable and moderate for the rest of 2009, until the recovery of the economy is certain and is recognised by consumers. Until then, high end products such as shrimp will not show a significant increase in demand. In the domestic wild-caught shrimp market oversupply and low prices are likely to continue and will remain a challenge unless a distinction is made between these supplies and imported cultured shrimp, which sets a precedent for p