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Vietnam’s catfish demand surges in January-February

Vietnam’s catfish demand surges in January-February

Sunday, March 03, 2024, 11:43 GMT+7
Vietnam’s catfish demand surges in January-February
Workers fillet catfish at a factory in Vietnam. Photo: Thao Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam experienced a notable increase in demand for catfish across key markets in January and February, in contrast to the subdued performance observed in 2023.

In January, Vietnam’s catfish exports soared to US$165 million, and by the end of February, they had climbed to approximately $200 million, nearly double the figure logged in the same period last year, according to Truong Dinh Hoe, secretary general of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

Hoe attributed this uptick to improving consumer demand in several key countries that import Vietnamese catfish. 

For instance, China, the largest importer of Vietnamese catfish, witnessed a nearly threefold jump in imports compared to January last year.

Similarly, the U.S. market, which had experienced a prolonged decline throughout 2023 due to inventory buildup, began expanding its inventory from December 2023 onward.

“Following a lackluster year in 2023, we’re seeing promising signs for catfish exports in the first two months of this year, even in smaller markets like England, Canada, Mexico, and notably Brazil,” Hoe elaborated.

According to the VASEP secretary general, last year's exports to Brazil increased nearly 80 percent in the final quarter and even recorded triple-digit growth in December.

An Giang Province-based Nam Viet Group, a prominent player in catfish exportation across more than 30 countries, including the U.S. and China, acknowledged the lackluster catfish export scenario in 2023. 

Do Thi Thu Thuy, sales director at Nam Viet Group, indicated that amidst the challenging export landscape of 2023, the group had shifted its focus to the domestic market. 

However, with importing countries now placing substantial orders, Thuy observed a smoother market performance in the early months of 2024, with notable growth for the group.

Another seafood export company in Dong Thap Province also noted a resurgence in demand from customers in the U.S., who had begun placing orders for catfish fillets after a gloomy year.

Currently, with catfish shipments on the rise, many export businesses anticipate an uptick in raw catfish prices from VND25,000-26,000 ($1-1.05) per kilogram in 2023 to VND28,000-29,000 per kilogram.

Vietnam’s catfish exports are forecast to witness a slight increase this year, possibly reaching $2 billion, representing a more than 10-percent surge from $1.8 billion in 2023.

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Bao Anh - Thao Thuong / Tuoi Tre News


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