Indian shrimp prices set for continued increases on short harvests : December 1, 2015
Neil Ramsden – Undercurrent News
Prices for Indian farmed vannamei look set to continue rising through into 2016, as raw material availability becomes more and more scarce.
Shrimp farmers across India’s main production regions have been unwilling to stock their ponds at densities they have been, or to leave shrimp in the water to grow to the larger sizes, after weak prices earlier in 2015. As a result harvests now are growing quite short.
Adding to this are some concerns over disease and flooding. The former, while not killing shrimp outright, is limiting growth, while the latter has seen heavy rains south of Chennai in Andhra Pradesh wash away farms.
The largest shrimp – 30 count – are therefore in shortest supply, with pricing reflecting this. On Nov. 23, 30 count were up to INR 470 ($7.02) per kilogram, for head-on, shell-on.
This was up INR 20 from the previous week.
Other sizes from 40 count to 100 count increased either INR 5 or 10 on the previous week. 40 count was at INR 415’kg last week, while 100 count was up to INR 215.
“The vannamei price in India this week has moved up across the board, and the upward trends seem to continue,”a buyer of Indian shrimp with Siam Canadian, based in Thailand, told Undercurrent News.
“The low availability plays the key role and we do not expect any improvement in supply anytime soon.”
Shrimp crops in Ongloe and Nellore, in Andhra Pradesh, have been washed away by rains, he added. Farmers plan to offset the shortage with new stocking shortly, but this will not be ready for harvest until February 2016.
The Siam Canadian buyer stated that now, 30 count shrimp are no longer available in Andhra. Raw material in other regions, including Orissa and Kolkata, is close to being used up, with packers there turning to Andhra to meet their needs.
In mid-November Undercurrent reported rising raw material prices to Vietnam. Packers with contracts to Vietnamese buyers are still waiting on raw material, so prices are likely to continue rising over the next few weeks at least, Siam Canadian’s buyer said.
“Prices are certainly going up. I think markets here would also get higher in a few weeks,” said a second source, a buyer in the US.
“I think the driver is more to do with low growth rates due to disease. The availability is also lower due to the winter crop. Flooding is also a factor to a certain extent.”
“I see prices continuing to slowly go up over the next few weeks.”
January pricing to dictate 2016 picture
Undercurrent has recently returned from a visit to the Indian city of Visakhapatnam, home to many of Andhra Pradesh’s largest exporters.
Several executives at these firms agreed that prices were only likely to rise from levels seen at the end of November.
“Currently export markets are stable, and buying at the prices that have been established,” said one. “Limited production means exporters and packers are competing to secure raw material; they’re trying to pay more and so losing on each shipment through the factory, but importantly, keeping those factories going.”
A second Visak-based source said he does not expect raw material prices to dip below levels seen at the end of October for the first few months of 2016.
These levels were INR 450 for 30 count, INR 410 for 40 count, and down to INR 210 for 100 count. “October was the bottom for prices; in 2016 I think they’ll be on a par or higher than they were throughout 2015, in general.”
And a third exporter in the city stated that December and January prices would dictate the picture for 2016: rising prices could see farmers returning to healthier stocking, if they “trust in the new prices”.
“Prices were low in the first half of 2015, and that’s why production is low now. Shrimp are also having their size limited by a white gill problem at the moment, too.”