Tom Seaman : UnderCurrentNews
Even though shrimp consumption in the US is brisk, prices are still in the doldrums, said Jim Gulkin, managing director of Siam Canadian Group, a frozen seafood supplier.
“There’s too much inventory. Everyone knows that, so people don’t buy and the prices continue to drop,” he told Undercurrent News.
Gulkin said prices are “crazy cheap” and should have hit the bottom now. “If they go lower, it’ll be below cost for the farmers.” Siam Canadian has offices in Thailand, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar and China, giving Gulkin a good grasp on shrimp production. India could be “up or down” by 5-10% on 2018, when production was around 700,000 metric tons, Gulkin estimated.
The bulk of this is vannamei. Vietnam, which Gulkin said produced around 530,000t of vannamei and 200,000t of black tiger in 2018, should increase production around 5-10% in 2019, depending on prices, he said.
Then, Indonesia should increase its output around 10% from the level of approximately 450,000t in 2018, said Gulkin. The outlook for Thailand is poor, he said.
In 2018, Thailand ended up producing 250,000-270,000t, way below the level of 340,000t the processing industry was hoping for. “It’s possible” production could be at this level again in 2019, said Gulkin.