India and Ecuador Capturing More of Japan's Frozen Shrimp Market

Frozen Common Shrimp & Prawn
Published Jun 15, 2023
India and Ecuador gained considerable market share in Japan’s frozen shrimp import market so far into 2023. One of the main reasons behind this is that they have a lower export price relative to other competitors such as Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Argentina.

India and Ecuador continue to gain market share in the Japanese frozen shrimp import market, to the detriment of Vietnam, Argentina, and Thailand.

According to Japan Customs data, in Jan to Apr 2023, Japan imported 38.6 thousand mt of frozen shrimp, which was virtually the same as in Jan to Apr 2022 (-0.5%). However, there were considerable movements within the import origins of this product.

India surpassed Indonesia and Vietnam to become Japan's top shrimp provider so far this year, representing 27.8% or 10.7 thousand mt of Japan's total imports. Imports from this origin climbed 46% year-over-year, representing a net gain of 3.4 thousand mt compared to Jan-Apr 2022. It was the second-largest YoY gain percentage-wise of all main origins.

Meanwhile, Ecuador surpassed China and Myanmar to become Japan's sixth largest import origin, representing 4.8% or 1.9 thousand mt of Japan's frozen shrimp imports. However, what is most notable from Ecuadorian imports is their sharp rise of 80% in YoY terms, representing a net gain of 0.8 thousand mt. In terms of percentage, it was the largest YoY gain among the largest origins.

As in the case of the US frozen shrimp market, which we explored in this recent analysis, it's clear that India and Ecuador keep gaining share in the main frozen shrimp markets in the world due to more competitive export prices. This can be visualized in Japan's average import prices by origin.

In Jan to Apr 2023, Ecuador represented the lowest price among the top six origins, at JPY 973.15/kg. As mentioned before, Ecuador's YoY gain in terms of percent change in imported volume was the largest one. The second-lowest price came from India, at JPY 1,052/kg. Imports from India experienced the second largest YoY gain in terms of percent change. Meanwhile, the third-lowest price came from Indonesia, from which imports declined 3% YoY. The rest of the six main origins, ranked from lowest to highest average import price were: Thailand, Argentina, and Vietnam–all experienced double-digit declines in import volume.

Source: Tridge and Japan Customs data

Ecuador, which became the top global exporter of frozen shrimp in 2022, manages to export at a lower price due to greater production efficiency–thanks to recent improvements in genetics, health and feed. In the meantime, India also possesses an advantage due to its large-scale operations and low labor costs. Having lost some market share to Ecuador in 2022, India is also implementing new measures to narrow the gap with the top global exporter. One such measure is a reduction in the import duty for fishmeal, which represents roughly one-third of farmed shrimp production costs.

As of 2022, Japan was the third largest single-country import market for frozen shrimp (HS code 030617) in the world, just behind China and the US. 

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