Thai shrimp prices finally ease as packers complete delayed orders : April 3, 2017
Neil Ramsden : Undercurrentnews
Prices for Thai farmed vannamei shrimp – which have maintained high levels since December 2016 – have finally eased, according to frozen seafood supplier Siam Canadian Group.
However, they are not likely to come down much further until supply of smaller counts begins to improve, from late April onwards, the firm’s general manager in Thailand, Satasap Viriyanantawani, told Undercurrent News.
Shrimp supply in Thailand has been scarce since December 2016. This was due to a combination of the usual low production season and disease prevalence in the final quarter of 2016 and the first of 2017, he said, citing producer Charoen Pokphand Foods.
“There has not been any sign of improvement since December 2016.”
The majority of contracts held by Thai packers were delayed from Q4 to January or February 2017, he said.
“Several Thai packers were scrambling to secure enough raw material to fulfill those orders, also all packers had to try their best to obtain any available raw material to run through their facilities, to cover their fixed costs.”
Hence demand has been much stronger than supply, maintaining levels of around THB 220 per kilogram – and as high as THB 230/kg – for 60 pieces per kg, head on, since mid December.
70 pieces/kg have hovered around THB 210/kg, while 80 count saw a level of around THB 185/kg. These prices have made Thai shrimp more expensive than other countries’ output, said Viriyanantawani.
Now, “the majority of those orders have been completed, and it’s reducing the amount of pressures on the market. Therefore, we are starting to see some improvement on prices.”
In the last week to April 1, prices dipped – though maintained a wide range – and saw 60 count at THB 185-205 per kilogram ( from THB 205-220/kg the previous week); 70 count at 175-185/kg (down from THB 195-210/kg); and 80 count at THB 155-160/kg (down from THB 170-180/kg).
“However, due to poor supply, some of the plants are only running at 40-50% of their full capacity,” he added. “Supply is expected to be improving, starting from small sizes from late April onwards.”
Thailand produced around 310,000 metric tons of shrimp in 2016, with an uptick of around 20,000t expected in 2017 by Jim Gulkin, CEO and founder of Siam Canadian.
This is a bit more bullish than the forecast from the shrimp panel at the recent Global Seafood Market Conference in San Francisco, California, where 300,000t was given as the outlook for 2017, flat on the previous year.
“EHP [Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei] disease and weather were the main causes” for production not going up more in 2016, as well as prices being at lower levels for a portion of the year, Gulkin told Undercurrent during the 2017 Boston seafood show.