Weekly Product Updates

W5 Tuna Update: Vietnam's Tuna Exports Face Uncertain 2024 Despite Modest 2023 Gains, Oversupply Dampens Japanese Prices

Published Feb 9, 2024

Vietnam's Tuna Exports End 2023 with Modest Gains, Uncertainties in 2024

In 2023, Vietnam's tuna industry experienced a slight year-on-year (YoY) increase in Dec-23, with total tuna exports reaching USD 845 million but a 17% YoY decline. December exports saw a 7% month-on-month (MoM) increase, reaching USD 73 million. Major markets like the United States (US), Canada, and Japan experienced YoY declines, while the European Union (EU) and Russia saw growth, EU (+25% in Dec-23, +6% YoY), Russia (+96% in Dec-23, +18% YoY). Tuna exports to the US, the top importer, reached USD 326 million, down 33% YoY. Exports to the EU grew 6% YoY, with Italy exhibiting a notable 361% YoY surge.

Despite challenges, such as the European Commission’s (EC) yellow card warning and fluctuating raw tuna prices, the outlook for 2024 remains uncertain due to ongoing geopolitical tensions, subdued global demand, heightened market competition, and high inventory levels, all of which are forecasted to impede the recovery of Vietnam's tuna exports.

Tuna Prices Drop in Japan as Mediterranean Farmed Tuna Oversupply Hits Market

The Japanese market is experiencing a significant drop in frozen bluefin tuna prices, driven by an oversupply of farmed bluefin tuna from the Mediterranean region. Frozen bluefin tuna prices at the Tokyo Toyosu wholesale market fell by nearly 20% YoY, reaching about USD 19.89 per kilogram (kg). This decline is due to an influx of farmed bluefin tuna from the Mediterranean, particularly appealing for its high-fat content. Japan's imports of Mediterranean bluefin tuna soared 2.8 times in 2022, reaching a ten-year high of 782 mt. While production remains strong, limited import volumes due to ample domestic stocks further contributed to the price decrease.

Within the Japanese market, Mediterranean bluefin tuna wholesale prices fell by over 30% YoY on Dec-23. Tuna exports to Canada and Japan declined in Dec-23, while exports to the EU grew slightly with 6% YoY and significantly in Dec-23 with 25% MoM. Italy within the EU emerged as a bright spot with a 361% YoY export growth in 2023. Tuna exports to Russia experienced a notable rebound in late 2023, increasing by 96% MoM in Dec-23 and 18% YoY.

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