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Thai 2009 Canned Tuna Exports: Less And Cheaper

The effect of lower tuna prices and disappointing tuna retail sales in the Middle East is affecting the Thai canned tuna industry. Thailand customs reported that exports of canned tuna from January to May 2009 were 12% lower in volume and 11% cheaper in price-per-M/T, compared to the same period last year.

United States and United Kingdom were the only top importers increasing their demand for Thai canned tuna this year, by 4% and 14% respectively.

U.S. imported 37.732 M/T, which represents 20% of total Thai tuna imports until May 2009 – 184.221 M/T.  The price paid by U.S importers measured per ton was US$ 3.197, 16% less than what they paid last year over the same period.

The drop on raw material prices in January 2009 is reflecting on the market. These lower prices, however, have not lead to an increase in demand.

While Thailand’s major market, the U.S., kept a constant appetite for canned tuna, exports to most other countries declined. A very dramatic decrease is visible in Egypt – which has been a fast growing market the last few years but now dropped by a staggering 38% in the first 5 months. Also Saudi Arabia is almost a third behind in last year’s sales.

Some experts do believe that the reduction in canned tuna prices may help recover demand for the product in countries harshly affected by the economic crisis, since it is considered a very affordable source of protein.
Thailand total exports of canned tuna in 2008 were considered a good recovery from the 17% drop between 2006 and 2007.