Thailand’s shrimp exports expected to decline 14 percent hinh anh 1Thailand’s shrimp exports are projected to fall 14 percent this year. (Photo: Bangkokpost)

Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand’s shrimp exports are projected to fall 14 percent this year to only 150,000 tonnes, with values down 21 percent to some 44 billion THB (about 1.46 billion USD), mostly due to the pandemic and strong currency.

Somsak Paneetatyasai, president of the Thai Shrimp Association, said a second wave of outbreaks in many countries has weakened demand for shrimp during the Christmas and New Year period.

The association forecast in December last year Thai shrimp exports would recover to a 20 percent increase in 2020, in line with increased production.

However, for the first 10 months this year, Thailand's shrimp exports totalled only 123,297 tonnes, down 9 percent year-on-year, with values down 11 percent to 35.9 billion THB.

According to Somsak, Thailand expects lower output this year of only 270,000 tonnes, down 7 percent from 290,000 tonnes in 2019, attributable to shrimp diseases and weak demand during the pandemic. The world's overall shrimp production is also forecast to drop by 3 percent to 3.32 million tonnes.

He is upbeat about next year's prospects, forecasting the country's shrimp production will increase by 15 percent next year to 310,000 tonnes, with export volume also rising by 15 percent.

Next year's domestic demand is likely to surge, driven by the government's consumption stimulus measures mainly through the co-payment scheme, he said, adding domestic demand is estimated to take up about 25 percent of total shrimp production.

He said the association expects local shrimp consumption to increase by 40-50 percent over the next five years.

The key obstacle for the shrimp industry is the THB, which has strengthened by 11 percent from 2017, when the THB averaged 33.68 to the USD. The currency's strength is a national-level issue the government needs to tackle, he stressed./.