The Chinese crustacean production was peaked at 7.3 million metric tons in 2019, with shrimps & prawns garnering the largest share accounting for nearly 48% of the overall crustacean production in the country during the same period. Despite being a major producer of crustaceans, the country also strengthened its import share during 2019-20, while surpassing the United States. For instance, during 2019-20, the country imported 842,325 metric tons of crustaceans, majorly from Ecuador, India, Canada, Thailand, and Vietnam. The overhaul in the imports particularly during 2019-20, was possibly due to the influence of heavy rainfall in Southern China. Thus, the rising imports can further be translated directly into the increasing consumption demand in various parts of the country.
Key Market Trends
Shifting Consumption and Trade Position of Chinese Seafood
China is one of the largest consumers of seafood, which consumes nearly 40% of global seafood and aquatic production in the world. In volume terms, China consumers nearly seven times higher than the seafood consumed by North America as a whole. This trend is further strengthened by the rising imports of crustaceans, especially surpassing the United States market. For instance, as per the statistics released by the United Nationa Commodity Trade Database, the imports of crustaceans in 2016-17 was peaked at 194,632 metric tons in 2016, which has significantly increased by nearly four-fold to 842,325 metric tons by 2019. This abnormal increase in imports is particularly attributed to the stalled production in the country, thereby shifting the consumption pattern from production dependent to import-dependent in the years to come.
Chinese Seafood Exports to Stall Depsite the Rising Domestic Demand
Chinese crustacean exports were peaked at 171,216 metric tons in 2016, which significantly declined by 31.5% to 117,294 metric tons by 2019. Korea, Japan, Taipei, Hongkong, and Spain were the major import destinations of crustaceans from the Chinese market, accounting for nearly 22.6%, 18.1%, 12.5%, 11.9%, and 8.5% shares respectively. Moreover, the import shares of crustaceans in Korea and Japan increased significantly from 18.6% to 22.6% from 2018 to 2019 in the case of Korea, and 13.7% to 18.1% during the same period in case of Japan. Thus, the sharp increase in the export demand from these two countries, clearly reveals a potential opportunity for crustacean exports in the years to come.
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