Shrimp market at a crossroads: current dynamics and future prospects

Lily - Senior Analyst
Lily - Senior Analyst
16 Nov 2023
Vannamei Tip
# 98

In the past several weeks, the vannamei shrimp market has witnessed a notable downward trend in prices, eventually stabilizing in the last two weeks. This stability raises a crucial question: have we reached the price floor?

The Chinese market’s hesitation to increase shrimp purchases despite the reduced prices, is a significant factor impacting the industry.

Moreover, many importers are currently facing financial constraints due to large existing stockpiles of shrimp. With much of the stock consisting of bulk 12 kg packages, the selling prices are unfavorably low, further straining importers’ budgets. Even those willing to purchase are limited by their tight financial situation.

The coming weeks represent a critical window for producers, as it’s the last opportunity to sell and ship shrimp in time for the Chinese New Year (CNY). Many are hopeful for a market revival, but what if China refrains from buying? A common assumption might be a further drop in prices, but several factors suggest otherwise:

  1. Current price levels: the existing prices are already quite low, pushing many farmers into a loss-making situation. This factor alone could contribute to price stability, as prices can’t realistically drop much further without severely impacting the industry.
  2. Preference for HLSO: in the current market scenario, farmers are increasingly favoring the sale of shrimp as HLSO (Headless Shell-On) over HOSO (Head-On Shell-On). This preference stems from the straightforward nature of HLSO transactions, where pricing is more predictable and not as heavily dependent on the varying quality grades found in HOSO sales. Additionally, the harvesting and processing for HLSO are simpler, making it a more attractive option for farmers under the present market conditions.
  3. The impact of El Niño: the forecasted El Niño in Ecuador, likely to bring heavy rainfall, could significantly affect shrimp harvests and lead to product loss. Such environmental factors might constrain supply, thereby supporting current price levels.
  4. Reduced harvests: in response to low prices, there’s a trend of reduced harvests. This deliberate decrease in supply could play a role in maintaining or even slightly increasing prices, despite reduced demand from China.

The future trend of shrimp prices, especially considering the decreased buying interest from China, is complex While a drop in demand typically signals potential price decreases, current market dynamics – marked by environmental factors, shifts in production, and low price levels – suggest a wide range of possible outcomes.

For stakeholders in the shrimp market, the key lies in staying informed and adaptable as the situation evolves. If you’re seeking specific advice or insights tailored to your situation, feel free to contact us. We’re here to assist and guide you through these uncertain times.

Stay tuned to Vannamei Tips for ongoing updates and expert analysis.


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