Weekly Product Updates

W7 Tuna Update: Canned Tuna Market Faces Price Decline Amid Global Demand Slump, Vietnam Dominates EU Exports

Published Feb 23, 2024
In W7 in the tuna landscape, the global canned tuna market is seeing reduced demand, causing prices to drop in key regions like Thailand and Ecuador. Prices in Bangkok fell to USD 1,450/mt in Jan-24, continuing a downward trend mirrored in Manta, Ecuador, with prices reaching USD 1,500/mt to 1,550/mt. Despite average catches reported, Thai and European canneries are operating efficiently, potentially balancing supply and demand. Conversely, Vietnam has experienced a significant increase in canned tuna exports to the EU, becoming the leading export product category in 2023, valued at USD 71 million, attributed to tariff preferential quotas under the EVFTA.

Sluggish Global Demand Drops Canned Tuna Prices in Thailand, Ecuador, and Europe

The global canned tuna market is experiencing a downturn in demand, leading to a decline in raw material prices in key producing regions like Thailand and Ecuador. Sluggish global demand for canned tuna is the primary driver of the price decline. Industry sources report a reduction in Bangkok transaction prices to USD 1,450 per metric ton (mt) in Jan-24, reflecting a continued downward trend. Similar price drops have been observed in Manta, Ecuador, with prices reaching USD 1,500/mt to 1,550/mt. Tuna prices in the European market have also declined, with Indian Ocean free-on-board (FOB) prices dropping by USD 54.3/mt month-on-month (MoM) to USD 1,570/mt.

Tuna fishing vessels in the Indian Ocean reported relatively average catches, with northern Seychelles remaining the primary fishing area. As of W7, Thai and European canneries operate efficiently, potentially contributing to a balanced supply-demand dynamic. Industry sources anticipate a stable supply of raw materials in the Pacific region for the foreseeable future. The current market situation suggests a potential oversupply of canned tuna relative to subdued global demand. This imbalance is reflected in the declining prices observed in key exporting regions.

Vietnam's Canned Tuna Exports Surge to Top Spot in EU Market

Data from Vietnam Customs reveals a significant rise in canned tuna exports to the European Union (EU) in 2023, making it the leading export product category to this market for the first time. Canned tuna exports accounted for over 40% of Vietnam's total exports to the EU in 2023, with an estimated total value of USD 71 million, reflecting a 28% year-on-year (YoY) increase.

Following an initial decline in Jan-23, canned tuna exports rebounded significantly after the reactivation of tariff preferential quotas under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), resulting in export values exceeding the previous year's figures by threefold at certain points. Vietnam's canned tuna exports reached 22 EU countries, with Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy being the top three destinations. Notably, exports to Italy saw a remarkable 456% YoY increase.

The increase in EU imports is attributed to the relatively high average price of canned tuna within the bloc, prompting countries to seek more affordable options from external sources like Vietnam. The El Niño-induced drought impacting the Panama Canal in late 2023 is viewed as another potential factor, hindering Ecuadorian tuna exports to the EU and creating an opportunity for Vietnamese suppliers.

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