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China Imports Record Volume, But Average Values Remain Worrisome

Ecuador’s and India’s average value/kg for imports to China 2019-2024
Ecuador’s and India’s average value/kg for imports to China 2019-2024

In January 2024, Chinese shrimp imports reached 97,144 MT, a record for January and 59% more than in January 2023. In February 2024, imports reached 60,323 MT, the second-highest volume for February but 15% less than in February 2023. Combined, January and February imports increased 19% year-on-year to a new record of 157,377 MT.

Ecuador continued to increase its exports to China in the first months of 2024. China imported 114,717 MT of shrimp from Ecuador in January and February, 20% more than in 2023. Most of this volume was supplied in January, before the Chinese New Year, when supplies reached 72,484 MT, 84% more than in 2023. In February, Chinese imports from Ecuador dropped to 42,233 MT, 24% less than in 2023. Ecuador’s supplies to China mainly consist of HOSO products, and a smaller portion comprises HLSO products.

China’s imports from India also increased. In January, China imported 12,746 MT of shrimp from India, 10% more than in 2023. Contrary to the drop in Ecuador's imports in February, imports from India increased year-on-year to 9,411 MT, up 50% from 2023. The total for the first two months of 2024 is 21,156 MT, up 25% from 2023. India’s supplies to China still mainly consist of HLSO L. vannamei blocks used for reprocessing, but exports of HOSO P. monodon represent a growing portion.

In order of significance, after the most prominent suppliers, Ecuador and India, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Peru, and Venezuela also had an excellent start to the year. All increased their supplies to China in January and February year-on-year. Saudi Arabia and Venezuela are both countries that are rapidly growing their shrimp production. Saudi Arabia almost tripled its supplies to China to 5,150 MT, and Venezuela also continues to grow its supplies to China slowly.

While the volume of shrimp exported to China in the first months of 2024 is impressive, the average value/kg remains worrisome. Prices climbed for both Ecuador and India from August to November 2023 but then dropped once again. The average value/kg for Ecuador in January and February dropped to $4.36, the lowest ever. For India, the average value dropped to $5.67 in January 2024 and $5.38 in February 2024, just above the lowest point of August 2023.

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