Vietnam Pangasius Market Update: March 28, 2019
Pangasius raw material landings are expected to be better in 2019 than 2018 as famers enlarge the farming areas and weather so far this year is more conducive to farming than in 2018.
Lower prices are expected this year as the pangasius harvest improves. In 2018 we saw peak prices for pangasius whole raw material at VND 35-36,000 per kg. However we do not expect prices to drop to previous low levels of 2015-2016 (VND 23,000/kg) as pangasius farming costs are higher and fingerling shortages and weak fingerlings are still an ongoing problem that has not been resolved.
Some frozen seafood exporters are expecting raw material to be short in Q4 2019 although many others seafood exporters believe that landings will be strong in Q4 as farmers continue to seed ponds at this time.
The China market is probably the largest single factor for pangasius prices. Now many Chinese brokers and suppliers buy raw material directly from the farms, by-passing the major processors. They typically have the raw material processed in small, informal, non-regulated and non-certified facilities. Quality and processing standards are not regulated and can be sub-standard. Colour, sizing, freshness, hygiene as well as other aspects are not properly controlled in these facilities. However, these brokers and suppliers pay good prices for the raw material, cash on the barrel, so farmers are happy to sell to them.