US Shrimp Imports from Thailand Declined in November 2005
US shrimp imports of Thai shrimp in November down 6.5% on last year
Mr. Somsak Paneetatyasai, President of Thai Shrimp Association, disclosed US shrimp imports in November 2005 totalled 60,299 tonnes. Compared to the November imports of last year, this is a reduction of 4,156 tonnes or 6.5%.
“The US imported lower quantity from major producing countries namely China, Thailand and India. Compared November 2005 import figures to November 2004, we see a significant decrease of 43.6%, 7.5% and 19.7% respectively. (See Table I). The decline of supplies from these countries contributed most to the overall decrease of shrimp imports in November 2005.
Moreover, imports from China are closely scrutinized by the US Customs Border Protection Agency for suspicion of circumvention of shrimp products through third countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Cambodia. There are rumors many importers are subject to pay AD duties of 112% on Chinese shrimp circumvented into the US through these countries. With such high duty rate, it is impossible for China to export shrimp into the US, unless it is breaded product which is not included in the AD product scope. US Shrimp imports of China in November 2005 is 6,130 metric tons, and majority of this volume is breaded shrimp,” Mr. Somsak said.
Table I: US Shrimp Imports from Major Producing Countries in November 2004/2005
Source: National Marine Fisheries Service
In normal years, US shrimp imports from Thailand peak in the months of November and December. However, the highest imports from Thailand in 2005 is in the month of August with peak shrimp production in the months of May, June and July. This is much sooner than in normal years. The reason is attributed to the weather favorable to shrimp farming following the tsunami disaster in December 2004. Shrimp fries stocked prior to and after the tsunami occurrence had high survival rate resulting in high production in the three months aforementioned. With the record high shrimp production in slow months of low demand, prices were also record low. The unattractive shrimp prices affected the stocking of subsequent crop. This, in turn, resulted in low shrimp production in the fourth quarter. Limited shrimp supply made shrimp price to rebound starting in August.
The current cool season is not suitable to shrimp farming. There are more shrimp culture failures as shrimp is more susceptible to diseases. Flooding in southern Thailand and prolonged monsoon season make it impossible for farmers to prepare their ponds for new crop stocking. As such, stocking of fries have been delayed one to two months. Harvest of the new crop is not expected until June or July. Thus, Thai shrimp production in the first half of 2006 could be more than 50% lower than same period last year.