Vietnam’s seafood exports are predicted to experience a year-on-year decrease of 13 percent to 1.15 billion USD in the first quarter of this year, according to Thoi Bao Kinh Te Vietnam (Vietnam Economic Times).

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said the country’s tra fish and shrimp exports did not see bright signs so far this year.

By mid-January, the country earned only 63.38 million USD from tra fish exports, a year-on-year drop of 20.7 percent.

Due to the sharp reduction in exports to major markets such as the European Union (EU), the US, ASEAN, Mexico and Brazil, fluctuations in domestic prices and difficulties in access to capital by tra fish farmers, the nation is expected to earn only 230-250 million USD from tra fish exports in the first quarter of the year.

In the meantime, around 30 percent of the total 300 shrimp exporting enterprises that contributed 36-38 percent of the country’s seafood export value halted their operation because of the lack of capital, price hikes of raw materials and shrinking market share. The remaining businesses operated at half of their capacity.

VASEP has forecast three scenarios for shrimp exports this year. The revenue will reach 2.4 billion USD if the country properly solves the early mortality syndrome (EMS) in shrimps, the competition in buying raw materials, export market and the Ethoxyquin barrier. It will be 2.2 billion USD if EMS and the Ethoxyquin barrier are solved, and 1.9 billion USD if the two problems remain.

Because of a likely reduction of 20-30 percent in shrimp output in the first quarter of the year, the application of the barrier on the acceptable level of Ethoxyquin content, an antioxydant, in Japan and the Republic of Korea and the US’s launch of anti-subsidy lawsuit against Vietnam’s shrimp, the country’s shrimp exports are estimated at 360 million USD in the first three months of the year, a year-on-year decrease of 18-20 percent.

Businesses forecast shrimp exports will bring back 1.9 billion USD this year due to the outbreak of diseases since 2011.

Meanwhile, Chairman of VASEP Shrimp Committee Ho Quoc Luc said he was not optimistic about the 2.4 billion USD forecast, adding that it was difficult to predict as the cultivation depends largely on the weather.

The export value will be 1.9-2.1 billion USD if unfavourable weather and diseases occur this year, he added.

At present, he said, shrimp farmers need the Government’s support as they and processing businesses do not have mortgages to borrow loans.

On Feb. 15, the Hung Vuong and Go Dang Joint Stock Companies prepared their first batches of tra and clams worth 2.5 million USD for export to Europe and the Middle East .

Earlier, Hung Vuong Company shipped 30 containers of tra fillets worth 2 million USD to Europe and Go Dang Company, 200 tonnes of tra fish and clamsworth 500,000 USD to China .

General Director Nguyen Van Dao of the Go Dang JC company said the consumption demand in new market has risen and tra fish has been exported to Asia and America besides traditional markets such as Europe and the Mid-East.-VNA