The association said the increase could be up 1.5 per cent over the same period in 2020 and markets including the US, EU and other countries in the CPTPP will maintain growth.

After increasing by 23.4 per cent to reach $600 million in January 2021, seafood exports in February fell 19 per cent compared to February 2020, estimated at more than $405 million. Lower sales last month was due to the Lunar New Year holiday. Thus, to the end of February 2021, seafood exports reached over $1 billion, up by 2.2 per cent.

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Workers of Vinh Hoan Corporation process pangasius for export. VASEP forecasts seafood export turnover will increase to reach about US$640 million this month. 
 

VASEP said in the first two months of the year, Viet Nam's seafood exports continued to be dominated by consumption trends amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which increased demand for affordable and easy to process seafood products.

Frozen small white shrimp, processed white-leg shrimp, fish balls, surimi, and whole fillets, cut pieces, dried anchovies and dried squid were some of the best selling products. Meanwhile, exports of frozen whole shrimp products, especially tiger shrimp, decreased due to the high prices and the tight control of frozen foods entering the Chinese market.

Export activities in the first two months of the year were still limited due to the rising sea freight costs, said VASEP.

Shrimp exports in February were estimated at nearly $160 million, down 18 per cent from the same period in 2020, and by the end of February, shrimp exports reached over $380 million, down slightly by 0.8 per cent over the same term last year. Black tiger shrimp exports decreased by nearly 40 per cent, while white-leg shrimp exports still accounted for an increasingly large proportion at 80 per cent of total shrimp exports with about $304 million, an increase of about 14 per cent from the same term last year.

After continuous decline in 2020, fish exports saw positive signs earlier this year. In January, they increased 22 per cent to reached $123.5 million. In the first two months, the export of fish products reach $214 million, up 1.7 per from last year.

Nguyen Ngo Vi Tam, General Director of Vinh Hoan Corporation, said that pangasius exports in February fell sharply because of the New Year in China.

Tam said: “This decrease happens due to the Chinese New Year. Currently, due to the pandemic, exports are slower.”

Tam said they could not transport products to China from mid January until March.

Meanwhile, pangasius exports to the US have been growing. In January 2021, the export of frozen pangasius fish fillets increased by 54 per cent, while whole pangasius fish increased by 162 per cent.

Recently, Colombian importers have also increased their purchases of local whole pangasius. In January 2021 these importers bought mostly whole pangasius, and only a small quantity of pangasius fillet.

Except for China and the EU, local pangasius exports tended to recover strongly in all markets, sharply increasing to the US with 51 per cent in January and to CPTPP countries by 38 per cent, including to Mexico by 73 per cent, to Australia by 45 per cent and to Canada by 42 per cent. Exports to other markets such as Brazil, Colombia, UK, and Russia all increased from 37-129 per cent.

VASEP estimated the export turnover in March to reach about $640 million, up 1.5 per cent over the same month of 2020.

The association said exports to the US, EU and CPTPP countries would remain steady thanks to high demand and the advantage of different free trade agreements including the EVFTA and CPTPP.