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China’s May 2024 Shrimp Imports: A Significant 30% Year-on-Year Drop, Bringing the Year-Total to a Noteworthy 13% Decline

China’s Monthly Shrimp Imports from January 2022 to May 2024
China’s Monthly Shrimp Imports from January 2022 to May 2024

China’s imports in May reached 70,169 MT, 30% below May 2023, when imports surpassed 100,000 MT, but 24% above May 2022, when imports were just above 50,000 MT. After a steady increase from January to April, the average import price of Ecuadorian shrimp stabilized just above $4.30. The average import value of Indian shrimp continues its downward trend, which started in November 2023 and was noted to be $5.27 in May 2024. Indian shrimp producers may find consolation, however, in the higher total exported volume to China (10,872 MT in May 2023 vs. 12,598 MT in May 2024), a 15.9% increase. Indian shrimp have also grown their market share in May from 10.8% in 2023 to 18.0% in 2024, compared to the almost unchanged market share of Ecuadorian shrimp.

Over the past three years, China’s shrimp imports have shown a mixed trend. In 2022, imports in the year's second half jumped and brought Ecuador to a new record import volume. In 2023, imports in Q1 dropped, then jumped to a new height in Q2, and then stabilized just below the volume of H2 2022. This year, it’s unlikely that Chinese imports in H2 will reach similar volumes as in 2022 and 2023, and therefore, the year-total import volume may fall back to the year-total of 2022, or even below that, to anywhere between 800,000 and 900,000 MT.

In Q1 2024, China’s imports from Ecuador were just 5% behind the same period in 2023 and 36% ahead of the same period in 2022. In April and May, China’s imports from Ecuador were 7% and 31% behind the same months in 2023 and 49% and 40% ahead of the same months in 2022. Looking at Ecuador’s export data for April and May we may expect a surge over the next couple of months.

In April 2024, its total export volume increased by 20% year-on-year, and its exports to China increased by 6%. Most of Ecuador’s year-on-year growth in April was absorbed by the US (+24%) and the EU (+30%). May’s total export volume from Ecuador is already known, 118,168 MT, a new all-time monthly record putting Ecuador’s year-total export volume ahead 2% of 2024. However, the breakdown per export market is yet to be published. Although it might result in a surge in Chinese imports from Ecuador in June and July, with no signs of a considerable surge in Chinese demand yet, it is likely that most of Ecuador’s growth will result in a stronger surge of US and EU imports, rather than a significant surge in China. Read more about Ecuador’s export performance in the next Shrimp Byte.

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