The Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect Vietnam’s tuna exports to markets. By the end of April 2020, Vietnam’s total tuna export value reached US$ 196 million, down 16% compared to the same period in 2019. So far, Vietnam’s tuna exports to markets have not been signs of recovery. However, there are also some good signals from import markets such as Japan and Egypt. Tuna exporters are also trying to expand exports to new markets to offset the decline in traditional markets.
According to statistics of the Vietnam Customs, in April 2020, Vietnam’s tuna exports to the US market still declined by 36% compared to the same period in 2019. At the US market, although being impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for canned tuna in this market has increased. This has caused Vietnam’s canned tuna exports to the US after a long period of continuous decline, showing signs of growth, up 2% over the same period in 2019. According to the statistics of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Vietnam’s canned tuna products exported to the US are on the upward trend compared to the same period in 2019 and have the second-highest average price among the 10 suppliers of canned tuna for this market.
Similarly, Vietnam’s tuna exports to the EU continued to decline in April. Therefore, the total value of Vietnam’s tuna exports to this market in the first four months of 2020 still fell by 18% compared to the same period in 2019, reaching nearly 82 million USD. However, it is worth noting that in April, Vietnam’s tuna exports to the two largest tuna importers of Vietnam in the EU bloc, Germany, and Italy, increased. And like the US and other countries, the demand for canned tuna in EU countries spiked. The outbreak of disease is causing tuna manufacturing plants of EU countries such as Spain, Italy … to stall. Furthermore, increasing demand has led the EU to increase imports of canned tuna from outside. Currently, Vietnam’s canned tuna exports to the EU also tend to increase over the same period in 2019, up 2.7%.
Meanwhile, tuna exports to ASEAN, after declining in March, have grown again. Vietnam’s tuna exports to this market in April rose by 4% over the same period in 2019. Notably, tuna exports to the largest importer in the bloc, Thailand, lifted by 61%.
Exports to some other major importers, such as Japan and Egypt, continued to increase. By the end of April 2020, Vietnam’s tuna exports to Japan jumped by 36% and that to Egypt elevated by 59%. Although the situation of COVID-19 is causing the tuna market to wobble, Vietnam’s tuna export to these importers is still very positive. Japan is strongly increasing imports of many other processed tuna products of Vietnam, especially frozen steamed tuna meat, up 111% over the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, Egypt is increasing imports of canned tuna from Vietnam.
Currently, the supply of tuna materials in the region has stabilized. At the end of April, transshipment at sea was approved by the countries participating in the Nauru Agreement (PNA) and The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) for regional shipping and fishing vessels at the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) aims to keep the supply of raw materials to regional markets so material difficulties are expected to improve. However, despite the negative impact of the global COVID-19 crisis, the price of raw tuna is still higher than that of the previous year and higher than other regions so it will reduce its competitiveness, making it difficult for businesses.
In the immediate future, with the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in major importers is still progressing worse, this is expected to make the world tuna market continue to fluctuate. The demand for canned tuna in markets will continue to increase. Due to the impact of the epidemic, the income of people also affected, the trend of finding cheap alternatives such as canned tuna products and pouch tuna will be more popular. This will impact tuna import trends in markets in the coming months. Therefore, businesses need to follow the market closely to make appropriate adjustments.