Analysts: Thai shrimp prices to remain high in Q1

EMS and bad weather in the south limiting shrimp supply in Thailand. Thai raw material shrimp prices are expected to remain high until the second quarter of 2013 due to limited supply caused from early mortality syndrome (EMS) and bad weather in the south, analysts told IntraFish.

 The EMS issue is still not yet completely solved, so supply is expected to remain tight, said a Bangkok-based analyst.

Raw material shrimp prices for this week ranged from THB 140 (€3.48/$4.63) to THB 180 (€4.47/$5.95), reaching the levels at the end of 2011 when Thailand had floods that decimated shrimp farming areas.

The rise is quite fast, said a Bangkok-based analyst who declined to be named. Last Monday (Jan. 7), the highest price was THB 160 (€3.97/$5.29), and on Thursday (Jan. 10), it has risen to THB 180 (€4.47/$5.95).

Unusually heavy rain in December in the south of Thailand, where almost 50 percent of Thai shrimp comes from, is limiting supply and therefore, pushing prices up as well, said the analyst. The highest shrimp prices are coming from the south, she told IntraFish.

The winter shrimp crop is traditionally a smaller harvest as well, contributing to the limited supply, the analyst said.

Demand factors are at play as well, as there is a seasonal rise in demand for shrimp around this time to cater for the New Year’s celebrations, she said, but it is really supply side factors that are behind the price hike this time.

Prices are expected remain high until the second quarter of 2013, as supply is forecasted to be limited until the bigger crop harvest in April, said Sureeporn Teewasuwet, analyst at Finansia Syrus Securities.

However, Teewasuwet warned of a possible drought predicted to occur in the second quarter of 2013, which she thinks will affect the smaller shrimp farmers more.

Companies which have backward integration and own their shrimp farms such as CP Foods will benefit from the price hike because they can now secure higher prices for their shrimp exports, said another Bangkok-based analyst.

However, companies relying on contract farmers might have difficulty locking in prices because of the limited availability and margins might be affected, she said.

Outlook for 2013

Analysts told IntraFish they expect Thai shrimp exports to remain stable in 2013, mostly because of limited supply in the early part of the year.

When asked if other nations could catch up with Thailand this year, Teewasuwet said there was a chance Indonesia could give Thailand a run for its money as it is slowly recovering from its 2009 disease outbreak.

Even though India was a major competitor to Thai shrimp in 2012, its productivity levels are still not as high as Thailand’s and its shrimp hatcheries are not as developed, so it might not have enough scale yet, Teewasuwet said.

Nguyen Bich

(IntraFish

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