By: Paul B. Brown Jr.*
Indian imports are up substantially at 15.1 % for the month and 9.3 % YTD. Last year Indian imports were up 25 % for the year so their shrimp production appears to show a strong upward trend. Most of the other major shrimp supplying countries were also higher with the exception of Ecuador that was way down. Mexico was also down sharply in what, I believe, should be their first farmed production month.
HLSO imports including easy peel were up 3.3 % for the month of September and 2.1 % higher YTD. Indian imports in the category were down while Indonesia imports; mostly easy peel, were sharply higher. Under 15 and 21-25 count imports were down for the month. 26-30 through 51-60 were higher while smaller counts were lower. Peeled shrimp were up 3.5 % for the month and 7.4 % YTD. Cooked was down 4.4 % for the month but remains 5.3 % higher YTD. Breaded imports are higher for September but slightly lower YTD with China leading the category.
Indonesian shrimp imports were 1.2 % higher for September and 4.4 % higher YTD. Their HLSO imports - traditionally easy peel, surged 44 % higher in September leaving YTD 20.1 % higher. HLSO imports are spread mostly between 16-20 and 31-40 count. Peeled imports are down 24.7 % for the month and 3.2 % YTD. Cooked imports are even for September but up 13.4 % YTD.
Thailand imports continue a resurgence, up 4.4 % for September and 14.5 % YTD. Thai imports of both HLSO and peeled were split fairly evenly between the categories and up sharply on a percentage basis. HLSO imports ranged mostly among 16-20 to 51-60 count. Cooked imports were down but they continue to lead the category.
Vietnamese shrimp imports were higher both for September and YTD. HLSO imports were lower but peeled imports were higher and account for the bulk of imports. Cooked imports were also higher for the month and YTD.
The Latin American HLSO shrimp market which had been very steady has recently experienced some weakness throughout the count sizes. US spot demand has been sluggish and this has resulted in discounting in order to stimulate sales. In addition, the large spread between large Indian shrimp and the Latin market continues to put downward pressure on large Latin shrimp.
Ecuador imports continue lower as production is diverted to Asian and European markets. HLSO imports were on 26-30 count and smaller and centered on 41-50 count. Demand out of China may be beginning to be impacted by currency. The Chinese have continued to allow their currency to weaken to stimulate their exports. But Ecuador shrimp are sold in US dollars, so the currency change has become a headwind, making Ecuador shrimp more expensive in China.
Mexican shrimp imports are sharply lower for September which should be the first month of increased seasonal farmed shrimp production. Production issues and an active domestic demand have limited the availability of Mexican shrimp to the US market. A weak peso in the last few weeks may have provided a few more US offerings.
Finally, there are limited supplies from most Central American shrimp producing countries as Asian buying interest reaches them.
*President of Urner Barry