Published: December 7, 2012
The impact of early mortality syndrome (EMS) in Thailand is causing prices for farmed vannamei shrimp raw material to increase, despite the Christmas orders having been filled and a slow market.
Prices for head-on raw material in the 60 pieces per kg size were THB 148-152/kg for the week of Nov. 26 –Dec. 1, compared to THB 144-150/kg for the week of Nov. 5-10.
One source involved in the Thai farmed shrimp sector, who wished to be quoted anonymously, said the impact of EMS next year will hit production further for the world’s largest shrimp exporter.
“We started with EMS in the east of Thailand,” said the executive, referring to the spread of the disease that has hit China, Vietnam and Malaysia also.
“However, now the disease spread to the south of Thailand,” he told Undercurrent News. “Next year we expect to have at least 20% less shrimp production.”
“Rumors say that the southern part of Thailand is facing multiple diseases that may potentially result in 60% of the current crop from that region failing,” said Jim Gulkin, managing director of Siam Canadian Group, a Bangkok-based frozen seafood supplier.
“It is just a rumor, at this stage,” Gulkin told Undercurrent. “However, this is helping to push up or least maintain high prices for raw material despite a current lack of orders.”
If the extent of EMS as is being reported is true, raw material will be short and prices will drive up further, said Gulkin.
“Lately, Thai packers have been more aggressive in buying raw material in the fear that there will be shortages and this has firmed raw material prices.”
Shrimp production from Thailand this year is expected to be at least 10% down from last year, said Gulkin. It is expected to be around 510,000 metric tons this year, in terms of head-on production.
EMS is also still impacting Vietnam, Gulkin said. There is no major new production in Vietnam until March-April and that is very much subject to the disease situation, he said.
Indonesian raw material landings are way down, as this is the off season for them, with the new season beginning in January and peaking in February, said Gulkin.
India is currently out of season and no major production is expected until March. Meanwhile the season is “pretty much” over in China, with prices much higher there, as well, he said.
“In a nutshell, prices are higher from all Asian origins and I don’t see prices coming down in 2013 before the second quarter, if they come down at all,” said Gulkin.