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Vietnam's seafood export target revised down to 9 bln USD for 2023

HANOI, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam's seafood exports were revised down by 10 percent to 9 billion U.S. dollars for this year due to weakening demand from key markets, Vietnam News reported on Tuesday.

It is highly likely that the seafood industry would fail to reach the official export target of 10 billion dollars for 2023, said Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

Seafood shipments in the first five months of the year plunged over 28 percent from a year ago to only 3.37 billion dollars, according to the latest data by the General Statistics Office.

The revised target is far below last year's annual growth of 23.8 percent to a record high of 11 billion dollars when the industry managed to rapidly bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The seafood exporters association highlighted that export orders began to fall sharply in late 2022 and forecast the slump would continue in the third quarter of this year.

Exports to the United States were hardest hit by slowing consumption, down more than 50 percent in the January-May period from a year earlier as Americans made spending cuts to cope with high inflation, said Le Hang, head of communications for the VASEP.

Meanwhile, shipments to the European Union dropped about 32 percent, followed by sales to China down over 25 percent, data compiled by the VASEP showed.

Shrimp, which normally accounts for up to 45 percent of Vietnam's total annual seafood exports, suffered the biggest fall of 34 percent to 1.2 billion dollars over the period due to tougher competition from low-priced products by Ecuador and India.

Exports contracted across all shrimp products, as white-legged shrimp dipped 36 percent, giant tiger prawn shrank 29 percent, and lobster and other saltwater shrimp species tumbled 41 percent.

Pangasius exporters have also felt the pinch of a downtrend in global prices, with some of them saying foreign buyers are not ready to purchase more, hence stocks with exporters are piling up, according to the VASEP.

Slowing global growth, in the face of elevated inflation, higher interest rates and disruptions caused by Russia-Ukraine conflict, has dampened consumption in major markets, said Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, VASEP chairwoman.

Economic uncertainty is clouding the future of supply chain and delivering food price volatility, she said, noting that global consumers would continue to tighten their spending on high-priced food, including seafood.

"Seafood companies are in dire need of support in terms of bank credit and other resources so that they could revive manufacturing activity and get ready for a surge in demand when market conditions improve," the VASEP chairwoman said.