China tilapia prices ‘to remain high’ : November 6, 2013
Eva Tallaksen – Undercurrentnews
With US tilapia fillet prices at a five-year high, buyers may be hoping for a reprieve. According to Lion Chu, deputy general manager at Baiyang, considered to be China’s largest tilapia producer, this is unlikely to happen, however.
“Prices will keep high, because all our costs are increasing: feed, labor, production. The long-term trend is up.”
Liang Chaorong, manager-assistant at Zhanjiang Evergreen Aquatic Product (Evergreen), gave a similar forecast.
Repeated typhoons in parts of China this year – four in one city, Zhanjiang, alone – have created a shortage of raw material, said Chaorong.
Baiyang expects to export around 40,000t of tilapia this year.
“Our prices will stay high this year.”
Prices are unlikely to go down now before April, said Landy Chow of Siam Canadian China.
The first harvest in Hainan will take place in April, and the first harvest in Guangdong in June, said Chow.
Sales are just showing signs of slowing down in the US, he said, and some buyers are using pangasius as a replacement. No wonder – according to Chow, prices for tilapia are around twice the price of pangasius at the moment. Raw material prices from China show average monthly ex-farm prices peaked this year at RMB 10.5 per kilo, or $3.79/lb, in September.
Sellers expect to have a clearer picture after lent (February to easter day), which is the peak season for tilapia in the US. “This will show if buyers still have tilapia in stock.”