Shrimp exporters look forward to H2 comeback hinh anh 1Shrimp exporters look forward to H2 comeback. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam’s shrimp industry has found itself surrounded by difficulties since the beginning of this year due to COVID-19 but many exporters are now looking forward to a comeback in the second half after the pandemic is brought under control globally.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the country’s shrimp exports grew 2.6 percent to 383 million USD in the first two months of this year.

Despite posting a 37.5-percent decline in exports to one of its leading customers - China - which was in a nationwide lockdown, exports to other markets saw significant growth, for example Japan (16.5 percent), the US (22.3 percent), and the Republic of Korea (RoK) (12.4 percent).

The sector began feeling the pinch from COVID-19 in March, however, when the pandemic quickly spread throughout the rest of the world. Shrimp export value tumbled 15 percent year-on-year during the month to just 208 million USD, resulting in Q1 shipments falling 4.3 percent from a year earlier.

Most of Vietnam’s key markets have been badly hit by COVID-19, such as the EU and the US, where importers are suffering from shrinking sales and high inventories.

Authorities across Europe, the US, and the rest of the world have forced bars and restaurants to shut down and people to stay home, hitting seafood orders and causing prices to tumble.

VASEP estimates that about 20-40 percent of orders have been delayed or cancelled, with new orders being few and far between.

Domestic exporters have made every effort to remain resilient and survive amid the spread of the pandemic. Many have shifted focus to new foreign markets, boosted sales domestically, or created new processed products for supply to foreign retailers.

Insiders believe that if the pandemic fades by the end of the second quarter then global shrimp demand will likely rebound shortly after. They have advised local exporters to retain a certain amount of shrimp in stock so they are ready when orders return.

According to analysis from Rabobank, a fall in orders during the first half of 2020 will likely affect prices in the second half, since there may be large inventories in place.

Prices may fall during the current crisis but a steep rise is likely later in the year as supply dries up, assuming the market returns to normal, Robobank said./.