Thai shrimp prices rebound at last as US, Chinese demand recovers: Oct 01, 2020
Dan Gibson: UnderCurrentNews
Thai shrimp prices are rebounding at last after raw material prices hit the bottom during the past few weeks, according to the latest price update from the Asia-based frozen seafood supplier Siam Canadian Group.
Prices for larger, 30/40/50 pieces-per-kilogram shrimp have reportedly begun to rise once again as demand returns from buyers in China, the US and Canada, Siam Canadian noted.
Medium-sized shrimp prices have been more stable, with only limited price changes week-on-week for week 39, as Undercurrent News’ data shows.
Harvests of the current crop are due to finish by late October, according to Siam Canadian, with many farmers unlikely to grow the shrimp to their largest sizes due to the unpredictable seasonal weather conditions and storms hitting the country in recent weeks.
As a result, Siam believes there will continue to be more medium-sized shrimp harvested than larger animals.
Jim Gulkin, managing director and founder of the firm, told Undercurrent that he doubted the extra demand would be met by increased stocking from the farmers, at least not before the end of 2020.
“I don’t think it is likely that Thai farmers will increase production,” he said. “They continue to be unhappy about raw material prices and are pushing the government to step in with some kind of price support scheme.”
The industry has proposed the government stabilize prices in the short term, and instate a delayed national pledging scheme in the longer-term. The Thai ministry of agriculture is expected to respond to the farmer’s proposal in the coming weeks.
Gulkin added that he expects the strong raw material demand to continue “through at least October”.
“Certainly most holiday business has already been concluded but shipments especially for holiday sales will continue through to the end of October and many processors in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and India have additional orders on the books well into Q1 2021,” he told Undercurrent.
Thai 2020 production to Finish close to 2019
Thailand has been among the more-fortunate shrimp farming countries during the coronavirus pandemic, with the industry only seeing minor logistical issues relative to the more directly affected powerhouses of India and Ecuador.
Nevertheless, total production is expected to drop by around 20,000 metric tons this year, according to data provided by Thai-based protein giant Charoen Pokphand Foods’ senior vice-president, Robins McIntosh.
Speaking on Undercurrent’s global shrimp outlook webinar earlier this month, Gulkin said he did not expect Thailand’s 2020 production to differ substantially from last year in terms of gross tonnage, although there may be some differences in sizing ratios.
“Unless raw material prices go up considerably and the farmers become more incentivized to seed, maybe the production will be similar,” Gulkin said at the time.