A Global Perspective on the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Look Back at Three Years
Over the past three years, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused more than 650 million infections and claimed the lives of 6.66 million people worldwide. Thanks to widespread vaccine coverage, this disease has now moved past its acute phase, but new variants continue to emerge…
Nearly three years have passed since COVID-19 (an acute respiratory illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus) first emerged and became the largest pandemic worldwide. People all over the world still cannot forget the significant milestones of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left behind much pain, loss, and unprecedented events in human history:
On December 31, 2019, the city of Wuhan in China reported the first cases of a mysterious lung infection. The first person found to be infected with this mysterious lung infection was a seafood vendor at the market.
On January 4, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a series of disease cases in China, although there were no reported deaths.
On January 8, 2020, WHO identified the new virus in the same family as the coronavirus that causes SARS. Just three days later, China reported the first fatality due to this disease. On March 11, 2020, WHO declared COVID-19 (an acute respiratory illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus) a global pandemic. On January 13, 2020, the outbreak had already spread beyond China, with the first case confirmed in Thailand
On January 24, 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak ‘stepped foot’ in Europe with the first case in France. On February 2, 2020, the first reported fatality outside China occurred in the Philippines. On March 12, 2020, WHO officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. On January 21, 2020, the United States discovered its first case of COVID-19. By March, COVID-19 had spread to all 50 states of the U.S.
Since the appearance of COVID-19, the United States has been the most severely affected country. To date, over 100 million Americans (equivalent to nearly 1/3 of the U.S. population) have been infected with COVID-19, with more than 1.1 million fatalities.
After three years of the pandemic, Europe has seen over 240 million cases and nearly 2 million fatalities.
Asia has witnessed over 200 million cases and over 1.5 million fatalities
In the context of the pandemic, most countries around the world have implemented lockdown policies, called for social distancing, mask-wearing, isolating cases, promoting handwashing, disinfection, and protecting vulnerable groups. The world has experienced four waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, impacting all aspects of social life and claiming the lives of millions worldwide. Since the emergence of the Delta variant (a more dangerous variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus), the world has been racing to research and produce vaccines for global vaccination. Billions of dollars have been poured into vaccine research, development, and production.
Vaccine trials were rapidly conducted on thousands of volunteers, and the speed of vaccine production and deployment for COVID-19 reached record levels. By November 2021, the appearance of the new Omicron variant, highly transmissible but causing fewer severe complications, changed the landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 outbreak entered a new phase known as the ‘Omicron wave’ in 2022, with continuous sublineages emerging from Omicron, causing new waves of infections like BA.4, BA.5, BA.2.75, and more
The Omicron Storm
‘The Omicron Storm’ It has been over a year since the Omicron variant wreaked havoc globally. On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization declared that the Omicron variant, with its ‘super-spreader’ potential, would alter the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With a large number of virus gene mutations, Omicron increased the risk of reinfection compared to previous circulating variants. Omicron was quickly identified as significantly more transmissible than the previously concerning Delta variant. Within four weeks as the Omicron wave swept across the globe, it replaced Delta as the dominant pathogenic variant. The Omicron wave led to a sharp increase in infection cases, a rise in hospital admissions (though lower in proportion to Delta), primarily among those unvaccinated. This new variant caused milder symptoms compared to Delta.
Some reasons for this change include the virus primarily replicating in the upper respiratory tract, causing fewer severe symptoms. Furthermore, immunity in various population groups had increased due to vaccination and prior infections.
By March 2022, the World Health Organization estimated that nearly 90% of the global population had immunity against the COVID-19 virus through vaccination or prior infection. To date, over 13 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered globally. Vaccines remain the effective ‘weapon’ against the pandemic, protecting us from severe symptoms, reducing the risk of hospitalization and death. Vaccines have played a crucial role in saving millions of lives worldwide.”
COVID-19 Pandemic End: When Will It Happen?
Since the emergence of Omicron, the virus has continued to evolve. Currently, there are over 500 sublineages of the Omicron variant circulating, but none have been designated as a new concerning variant. To date, these Omicron sublineages share common characteristics: they are highly transmissible, replicate in the upper respiratory tract, and tend to cause less severe illness compared to previous concerning variants.
All these Omicron sublineages have mutations that make them more evasive to the immune system, hence their higher infectivity. The prospects for most regions, including Europe and North America, remain relatively favorable in the coming months.
The winter of 2022-23 may see a significant increase in cases in the Northern Hemisphere, but not as severe as the outbreak in December 2021-February 2022. Although more Americans are now feeling more comfortable living with COVID-19, the number of COVID-19 deaths remains higher than the flu, 2-4 times higher.
While there are currently no new concerning variants emerging, the possibility of a new variant emerging that could change the situation cannot be ruled out. Without continued vaccination, immunity to current variants, including Omicron, is expected to wane over time.
Vaccines specifically designed to target Omicron (particularly the BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages) significantly enhance effectiveness against the dominant variants today. Just recently, on December 12, the Director of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) stated that it is too early to declare an end to the global health emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic, not ruling out the possibility of the pandemic taking a turn for the worse.
The World Health Organization continues to emphasize that, at this time, vaccination remains the strategic solution for controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. Antiviral treatments for COVID-19 like Paxlovid and other effective COVID-19 treatments are widely used in high-income countries. Increasing the use of effective therapeutic approaches is a crucial step for governments as they transition towards managing COVID-19.
Currently, the WHO, along with scientists and public health experts worldwide, continues to monitor the circulating variants for signs of the next concerning variant. If a new variant emerges that causes more severe illness, the world will have to adopt a new strategy. However, apart from Omicron and its sublineages, there are no signs of any more dangerous new variants that could change the world at this time
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Global Economy
The Initial Phase of the Pandemic (From January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2021)
The COVID-19 pandemic erupted in the context of a rapidly advancing process of globalization, leading to its rapid and challenging-to-control spread. The economic consequences left by the pandemic on a global scale have been severe. Global GDP was estimated to be approximately $84.54 trillion in 2020, meaning that economic growth decreased by 4.5%, resulting in an economic output loss of nearly $2.96 trillion.
In 2021, global economic growth showed some signs of recovery but remained at a low level. The economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is largely due to disrupted supply chains, which have disrupted production and reduced demand, with fewer people able to afford goods and services available in the global economy. This has been particularly evident in heavily affected industries, especially tourism and hospitality.
To slow the virus’s spread, countries imposed restrictions on travel, and many people were unable to purchase tickets for holidays or business trips. This decline in consumer demand is the reason why airlines lost revenue as planned and, therefore, had to cut costs by reducing the number of operated flights. Furthermore, global supply has also been significantly affected due to a workforce impacted and restrictions on movement in various countries, posing challenges to the import and export of goods.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global supply and demand can be summarized as follows:
• Supply chain disruptions directly impeded production, causing interruptions.
• The spread within supply chains increased the impact on direct supply, as production sectors in countries less affected had difficulty obtaining necessary inputs from more affected countries. The rising cost of imports also had a significant impact on the supply of goods on a global scale.
• Demand disruptions, due to macroeconomic contraction (i.e., recession) and consumer delay in purchasing, as well as business community investment delays. Faced with the harsh economic realities of a global economy in severe difficulty, with a recorded growth rate of -4.5% in 2020, many governments took strong measures to mitigate the losses and recession of their national economies. The main tools used included government spending adjustments, fiscal and monetary policy interventions, direct financial support to citizens, and more. In addition, in the midst of general and comprehensive difficulties, there were still some industries that benefited from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as e-commerce, food retail, information technology, and the healthcare industry, which brought about certain economic growth to offset the losses
The Subsequent Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic (Starting from January 1, 2022)
If the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted supply constraints, reduced demand, and delayed investments, leading to a global growth rate of -4.5%, then from the beginning of 2022 to the present, thanks to widespread COVID-19 vaccination efforts, people worldwide have largely overcome the darkest period of the COVID-19 pandemic. At this juncture, there are more positive developments in the supply-demand relationship in the market.
Specifically, most economies are experiencing a strong increase in demand for goods and efforts to overcome supply disruptions for production and distribution of goods.
In 2021, supply and demand shocks occurred simultaneously, contributing to the increase in commodity prices from production to the ultimate consumer. Reports from various markets indicate significant diversity in the extent of these impacts among countries and sectors. In 2022, the pandemic has eased its impact on global supply and demand for goods, but the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict may potentially prolong and exacerbate supply-demand disruptions, creating inflationary pressures due to “cost-push” inflation. This is something that nations and economic stakeholders need to pay close attention to at present.
Each country will have its own policy responses depending on its strengths, weaknesses, and development objectives in the context of the new international economic landscape. However, policy makers should fundamentally seek ways to address supply bottlenecks and minimize reduced demand caused by prolonged weak production activities. Alongside this, suitable solutions should be found for “demand stimulation” while avoiding the situation of inflation arising from both “demand-pull” and “cost-push
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Seafood Export Industry
Year 2020 The COVID-19 pandemic extended throughout the year 2020, with many new strains causing disruptions in global seafood trade activities. This led to changes in consumption trends for seafood products and had a significant impact on seafood imports, creating instability in production, processing, and exports for most major seafood suppliers worldwide.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a decrease in the global production of shrimp and whitefish species. The estimated global aquaculture seafood production in 2020 reached 82.5 million tons, a 0.6% decrease compared to 2019, accounting for 46.6% of the world’s total seafood production.
In 2020, regulations limiting catch quotas to ensure sustainability continued to be applied in most fishing grounds and were enforced more strictly. Many fishing grounds increasingly complied with these regulations. Meanwhile, the EU’s IUU regulations were also closely monitored, contributing to more sustainable global seafood extraction with limited growth.
The estimated global seafood extraction production in 2020 reached 94.5 million tons, a 0.53% decrease compared to 2019, accounting for 53.4% of the world’s total seafood production. Seafood extraction was relatively less affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The total global seafood production in 2020 was estimated to reach 177 million tons, a 0.56% decrease compared to 2019. It is projected that global seafood production in 2021 will remain at 177 million tons, with a decrease in seafood extraction and an increase in aquaculture seafood.
The complex developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with new variants, are causing instability in the world’s seafood supply sources, particularly in areas with large aquaculture seafood production, such as India and Asia.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Global Seafood Consumption Trends
Year 2019 In 2019, global seafood consumption saw a significant increase, driven by a surge in seafood consumption in China due to the African Swine Fever outbreak. However, the main underlying factor was the growing awareness among consumers of the health benefits of seafood.
Year 2020 In 2020, the average per capita seafood consumption worldwide was estimated at 22.3 kg per person per year, remaining unchanged compared to 2019. The primary reason for this was the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a substantial increase in home-based seafood consumption, while the demand for seafood in restaurants, eateries, and tourist destinations declined significantly in 2020.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, most consumers shifted their preferences towards seafood products suitable for home consumption, such as frozen, easy-to-prepare, and affordable options. This may result in changes in the average per capita seafood consumption in 2021. It is projected that the per capita seafood consumption worldwide in 2021 could increase to 22.5 kg per person per year.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Global Seafood Trade
Early Stages of COVID-19 During the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, global seafood trade faced disruptions in specific transportation hubs and locations due to the pandemic’s impact on transportation. However, by the end of 2020 and up to the present, transportation activities have adapted to the new requirements for pandemic prevention and have not been significantly hindered. Seafood trade in India and some places in Southeast Asia faced interruptions due to labor shortages or social distancing measures, affecting seafood processing and production.
Global Seafood Trade in 2020 Global seafood trade experienced a significant decline in 2020 compared to 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with an estimated value of USD 165 billion, representing a 4.6% decrease from 2019. Global seafood trade in 2021 continues to depend on the COVID-19 situation. Additionally, in 2021, global seafood trade will be influenced by factors such as bilateral and multilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) coming into effect.
Changing Consumption and Import Trends COVID-19 has led to changes in global seafood consumption and imports. Consumers reduced their consumption of fresh seafood at restaurants and festivals and increased their consumption of frozen, pre-processed, convenient, and reasonably priced seafood products in the context of social distancing and pandemic prevention measures. This trend is expected to continue until the end of 2021, as major seafood-consuming markets like the United States, Japan, the European Union, and China effectively manage COVID-19.
Restructuring Vietnam’s Seafood Exports in the First Half of 2021 According to statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Vietnam’s seafood exports in 2020 reached 2.025 million tons with a value of USD 8.41 billion, a 3.9% decrease in quantity and a 1.51% decrease in value compared to 2019. While seafood exports in 2020 did not meet the set targets, it was still considered a positive outcome in a year when the entire world experienced adverse effects from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Year 2021
In July 2021, when Ho Chi Minh City and 19 southern provinces and cities implemented social distancing measures according to Directive 16, seafood production and exports plummeted. According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), seafood exports in July 2021 reached nearly USD 763 million, a 4% decrease compared to the same period the previous year.
During this time, exports of tra and basa catfish decreased by about 5%, reaching USD 117 million and USD 60.5 million, respectively. Cuttlefish and octopus also saw a 9% decline compared to the same period. Other seafood products experienced a 2-4% drop. However, shrimp meat and two-shell mollusks saw a 6% increase, reaching USD 10.6 million.
The strong resurgence of the fourth wave of COVID-19 in key production, processing, and export areas was the primary reason for the sharp decline in exports. Stringent government regulations such as the “3 on-site” rule and local decisions and measures significantly disrupted production. Currently, only about 30% of seafood businesses in the southern provinces meet the “3 on-site” conditions. However, even for these companies, the workforce can only be mobilized at 30-50%. Average production capacity has decreased to 40-50% compared to before. It is estimated that the overall production capacity of the region has decreased to 30-40%.
VASEP forecasts a potential shortage of raw materials for production and exports in the final months of the year, up to 30%. Additionally, businesses are burdened with various additional costs such as extra wages, weekly testing expenses, equipment for “3 on-site” conditions, and increased input and logistics costs.
Given the current challenges, VASEP is concerned that seafood exports in the second half of the year will decline significantly without timely support for production recovery, exports, and livelihoods for workers, farmers, and fishermen amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Therefore, VASEP recommends the early and prioritized vaccination of workers in seafood processing plants to ensure safety criteria, along with support for businesses and workers affected by COVID-19.
Following a continuous growth trend starting from August 2021, seafood export indicators have all declined: production decreased by 2.6%, export turnover dropped by 36%, and most major products such as shrimp, tra catfish, tuna, cuttlefish, octopus, and other marine fish decreased by 35-40% compared to the same period in 2020. This indicates that COVID-19 directly impacted seafood exports, making the annual seafood export target of USD 8.8 billion extremely challenging.
However, starting from early August 2021, COVID-19 spread rapidly from Ho Chi Minh City to the Mekong Delta region. Particularly from August 23 to September 15, all provinces in the southern region, especially the Mekong Delta, implemented strict Directive 16 measures. This significantly affected the production and export delivery schedules, including the transportation of raw materials and the implementation of import-export procedures, C/O procedures, port procedures, etc. By the end of August, 40-50% of orders were delayed, and about 10-15% were canceled. Even if businesses returned to normal production after easing restrictions (after September 15), their ability to secure orders for the year-end holiday season was limited.
Additionally, shipping fees from shipping companies remain very high, increasing by 2 to 10 times with no appropriate adjustments. Booking containers and ships also face difficulties as businesses are entirely passive in terms of timing and shipping fees, significantly impacting transportation schedules and the cost of seafood products, thus affecting Vietnam’s seafood competitiveness.
The international market has regained its vibrancy, but the production and processing capacity to meet the demands of Vietnamese seafood companies is currently a critical issue. By the end of August, only about 30-40% of seafood companies in the southern provinces and cities are operating under “3 on-site” conditions. Around 30-40% of companies do not meet the requirements and have had to stop production, while the rest have temporarily suspended operations to reorganize for “3 on-site” implementation. Among them, Tien Giang, Can Tho, Hau Giang, and Dong Thap are the provinces with the highest number of seafood companies that have either completely ceased operations or suspended production for reorganization.
Moreover, according to VASEP’s assessment, only about 30-40% of seafood companies have the capacity to resume production immediately after social distancing measures are lifted, while the rest face difficulties or require an extended period to restore production activities. The recovery of business production is greatly hindered by factors such as broken supply chains or transportation difficulties. Companies have lost customers due to the extended duration of social distancing measures, which has disrupted delivery schedules. Particularly challenging is the reassembly of the workforce, as workers have not received vaccinations and cannot return to production facilities
The Year 2022
Seafood exports in 2022 reached a record level of about USD 11 billion
According to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, seafood export turnover in 2022 reached USD 11 billion, an increase of 23.8% compared to the same period in 2021 and 22.2% higher than the plan, the highest ever.
At the conference to summarize 2022 and implement the plan for 2023 of the Directorate of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said that seafood export turnover in 2022 is expected to reach around USD 11 billion, an increase of 23.8% compared to the same period in 2021 and 22.2% higher than the plan (USD 9 billion).
This is the highest figure the industry has ever achieved.
The results achieved in the seafood industry in 2022 serve as the foundation for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to assess and guide the implementation of Vietnam’s seafood development strategy until 2030 and its vision for 2045. Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien noted that both the overall economy and the seafood industry, in particular, have faced challenges. Starting from the third quarter of 2022, based on the results achieved, the Ministry directed the Directorate of Fisheries to implement practical solutions to ensure growth momentum and export turnover.
“When inflation rises, and there are impacts from supply chain disruptions and high input prices, despite setting a target to achieve a seafood export value of $10 billion by 2023, the industry still needs to remain flexible and innovative to decide on acceleration at the appropriate time,” Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien said.
According to the Directorate of Fisheries, the growth rate of seafood production value is estimated to increase by 3% compared to 2021, with a total output of 9.06 million tons, which is a 3.1% increase from 2021 (8.79 million tons). This result surpasses the average annual growth rate set out in the Vietnam Seafood Development Strategy (2021-2030) and the vision for 2045.
What’s noteworthy is that the catch volume reached 3.86 million tons, a decrease of 1.8% compared to 2021; while the marine catch volume specifically reached 3.66 million tons, a decrease of 2% compared to 2021. Aquaculture, on the other hand, achieved 5.19 million tons, which is a 7% increase compared to 2021 (4.85 million tons), and a 3.7% increase over the planned target (5 million tons).
According to Deputy Director General Nguyen Thi Thu Nguyet, despite facing various challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and fluctuations in raw material prices, the Directorate of Fisheries regularly monitors the production situation in different regions. It proactively and promptly reports flexible and adaptive production solutions to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, including adjusting the seasons for aquaculture production and disease prevention measures.
Management of aquaculture, including feed management, breeding, environmental monitoring, and VietGAP certification, continues to be implemented systematically and effectively.
The management of fishing fleets is being standardized step by step, with a gradual reduction in the number of fishing vessels and a decrease in fishing intensity to mitigate the impact on aquatic resources and the ecosystem. Information technology is being applied to digitize fishing vessel data into the National Fisheries Database System (VNFishbase) for fleet management.
The Directorate of Fisheries has advised the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to enhance the efficiency of harvesting, processing, and seafood sales in order to reorganize the fisheries production. This includes reducing production volumes, increasing product value, and fishermen’s incomes, as stated by Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Nguyet.
In 2023, the seafood industry will essentially maintain a stable planting area of 1.3 million hectares. The industry will continue to gradually reduce harvesting volumes, increase cultivation volumes, and actively take measures to increase the value of both cultivated and harvested seafood products to raise the production value, meeting growth targets.
The industry actively monitors weather changes and market demand, providing timely guidance on production and aquaculture to achieve the goals set for 2023. Continuing to guide the efficient development of major seafood and economically valuable aquatic species.
Simultaneously, harnessing the potential of water bodies, developing aquaculture in reservoirs and emerging saline intrusion areas where climate change has made traditional agriculture less feasible. Establishing supply chains to ensure food quality and safety.
Promoting the development of offshore aquaculture, mollusk farming, and seaweed farming as commodity production sectors.
the Directorate of Fisheries has set a goal for the total seafood production to reach approximately 8.74 million tons, equivalent to 96.7% of the target achieved in 2022. Among these, the catch volume is estimated to be around 3.58 million tons, and aquaculture production is estimated to be around 5.16 million tons. The total export value of seafood is expected to reach approximately $10 billion.
From early 2023 until now It is forecasted that with favorable conditions such as market recovery and stable supply of raw materials for processing and export, seafood exports for the entire year 2023 will reach approximately $9 billion. However, this figure is still lower than the initial target set at the beginning of the year, which was over $10 billion…
According to data from the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), seafood exports in July 2023 generated $830 million, a decrease of 11% compared to the same period in 2022. In this, shrimp exports were $345 million, down 10%; tra fish reached $150 million, down 20%; tuna slightly decreased by 3%, and other fish species decreased by 12% compared to July 2022.
Summarizing the first 7 months of 2023, seafood exports are estimated to have reached nearly $5 billion, a 25% decrease compared to the same period in 2022. It is projected that by the end of 2023, seafood exports will reach approximately $9 billion, a decrease of 15% to 16% compared to 2022…
Seafood Exports to China Increase by 45%
From a market perspective, the most significant recovery signal is in the Chinese market, which saw a 45% increase in July 2023 compared to the same period last year, reaching nearly $180 million. While exports to other major markets remained lower by 5-40% compared to July 2022.
Vietnamese seafood companies are expecting to continue accelerating exports to China in the final months of this year. However, some economic analysts forecast that China’s economic growth in the coming months may not meet expectations, which could lead to a significant decrease in consumer demand. This would also impact seafood exports to this key market.
Consumer demand for seafood in the U.S. is also predicted to recover due to signs of easing inflation. U.S. surveys show that in July 2023, small skinless fish (such as tra fish) inventory decreased by 8% compared to the same period last year, down by 22% from earlier this year, and equivalent to July 2021. Additionally, moderating inflation in the U.S. supports food consumption, with the restaurant channel accounting for 70% of tra fish consumption.
In July, the product structure and processing activities of seafood companies underwent adjustments in the context of the new situation. Therefore, despite many enterprises experiencing a decrease in sales compared to the same period last year, some companies achieved positive growth in export turnover in the first 7 months of this year by maintaining labor, utilizing production capacity, conducting value-added processing, and export processing…
According to Mr. Ho Quoc Luc, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sao Ta Food Joint Stock Company, shrimp exports are showing a clear recovery trend, especially in July 2023 when Sao Ta Company’s sales reached $21.3 million, equivalent to the same period last year, but up by 18% compared to June 2023. “In the third quarter, seafood companies are accelerating, hoping to make up for the shortfall in sales in the past period. However, the growth in sales is only a positive signal but not yet stable,” said Ho Quoc Luc.
What Scenario Lies Ahead for Exports in the Latter Part of the Year?
At the beginning of the year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development set a seafood export target for 2023 at over $10 billion. However, whether this target can be achieved remains uncertain. According to VASEP, three factors will determine the optimistic export scenario in the second half of the year.
Firstly, the economic trends of major markets are predicted to be more favorable in the latter half of the year, coupled with the fact that import demands in markets like the United States and China are showing signs of rebounding as inventories gradually deplete and preparations are made for year-end and New Year orders.
Secondly, the internal capabilities of enterprises and the seafood supply chain community are being timely supported in terms of capital and business production conditions to maintain stable raw material supply and ensure the availability of products when the market demands.
Thirdly, exported products have a stable supply source and reduced costs, making them competitive. In this favorable scenario, seafood exports in the remaining 5 months of 2023 may reach over $4 billion.
Consequently, the total seafood export turnover for the whole of 2023 is expected to surpass $9 billion, representing a 15%-16% decrease compared to 2022. Among these figures, shrimp exports are forecasted to earn approximately $3.5-3.6 billion in foreign exchange, a decrease of 16%-18% compared to the same period last year. Tra fish is expected to decrease by 28% to reach $1.7-1.8 billion. Exports of tuna and squid are likely to decrease by around 14%-15%, reaching $870 million and $650 million, respectively.
Exports of marine fish are estimated to reach $1.9-2 billion, a slight decrease compared to 2022. “Major markets will undoubtedly bring in less revenue than in 2022. Export to the United States and South Korea is expected to be 24-25% lower than in 2022, and exports to the EU will decrease by 18%. Meanwhile, the Japanese market is expected to be more optimistic due to the value of high-value products and the processing and manufacturing segment for this market, especially for marine species,” said Ms. Lê Hằng, Director of Communications at VASEP. “The Chinese market remains the biggest hope for seafood companies at present, and seafood exports are expected to match the 2023 export figure, reaching approximately $1.8 billion.” “VASEP also presents a less optimistic scenario, where the market has shown signs of recovery, demand is picking up, but Vietnamese seafood still struggles to compete in terms of price and supply source with other countries such as Ecuador, India, Indonesia, and Thailand…”
Furthermore, there are still unresolved short-term and long-term issues in the industry: high production costs due to high input costs such as feed and fingerlings, declining profits, lack of capital to maintain seasonal farming, abandonment of ponds by farmers, leading to a shortage of supply to meet orders in the latter half of the year…
If this less favorable scenario occurs, then exports in the last five months of 2023 may only reach around $3.5-3.7 billion. In that case, the total export turnover for the entire year 2023 may only be about $8.5 – $8.7 billion. Of course, the most affected sectors will still be tra fish and shrimp. Seafood exports could be further impacted if the results of the EU inspection team’s review of their IUU (Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated) combat program in October do not meet expectations for lifting the “yellow card.” Truong Dinh Hoe, Secretary-General of VASEP, emphasized the importance of domestic seafood enterprises maintaining close relationships with importers, based on sustaining markets with significant demand.
This would enable them to achieve strong exports during the recovery phase. “Additionally, there is a need to expand markets through trade promotion activities, especially with the Chinese market in the period from now until the end of the year. Because it is clear that this market will recover relatively quickly in the time ahead,” said Trương Đình Hòe. The Secretary-General of VASEP advised seafood processing and export companies to continue strengthening product quality through international certifications and addressing issues related to the green economy to ensure the brand and promotional capabilities of Vietnamese seafood enter the international market.