Pangasius raw material prices still creeping up

Pangasius raw material prices in Vietnam continue to rise early in 2018, according to Siam Canadian Group managing director Jim Gulkin.

Midway through January Undercurrent News reported that sales prices to Europe were roughly $3.20 per kilogram, with ex-farm gate prices hitting VND 30,000/kg.

On Jan. 29 Gulkin noted on Linkedin that this had risen to VND 32,000, with "some major processors' capacity booked until June 2018".

An EU importer had said there was great pressure on the market: "less fish, high demand, high prices. Some of the factories even closed their doors for a few days per week due to a lack of raw material".

However, global pangasius production is forecast to increase 20% in 2018 compared to 2016, driven by Vietnam and Bangladesh, according to data presented at the Global Seafood Market Conference (GSMC).

According to the data, which is from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the Global Aquaculture Alliance, pangasius production is estimated to be 2.498 million metric tons in 2016 and 2.771m in 2017.

For 2018, production is forecast to increase to 2.977m metric tons. In Vietnam, the world’s largest producer, output is estimated to go from 1.172m metric tons in 2016 to 1.237m in 2017 and 1.301m in 2018.

China is already proving a strong demand driver, and Sang Phan -- president of Vinh Hoan USA -- said at the GSMC that the recent regulatory pressure being applied in the US to the import of pangasius could serve as a “catalyst” to China taking an even larger percentage of the fish.

China has already overtaken the US as the largest import destination for Vietnamese pangasius, noted Phan.

The US accounted for 263,000t of Vietnamese pangasius imports during the first ten months of 2017, and looks to finish way below the 384,000t of pangasius imported in 2016, based on data presented at the conference. 

The US will take just 21% of the combined 1.2m metric tons of pangasius exported by Vietnam in 2017, compared to 33% in 2016, according to the presentation.

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