Indian warmwater prawn prices softened in the final week of June, as Chinese import demand weakened, in light of several new COVID-19 cases in Beijing. China is the world’s largest prawn import market and recent outbreaks in Beijing is being attributed to contaminated tools used to process imported seafood. This has resulted in the reimplementation of rigorous import-quality controls across Chinese ports, which threatens to keep a lid on prices.
India is the world’s top warmwater prawns exporter and China is overwhelmingly the largest export market, as both a processing and a re-export hub. Indeed, average Indian ex-farm prices of 60 piece whiteleg prawns fell by 1% week-on-week (w-o-w) 24th June - the first w-o-w price drop recorded in two months. Since hitting the floor at INR 240/KG in early April 2020, the ex-farm price increased by 30% by mid-June, as Chinese demand returned when lockdown measures were eased.
Despite the recent dip, strong fundamentals are likely to support warmwater prawn prices through H2 2020. Most pertinently, Indian supply may fall by one-fifth year-on-year (y-o-y) in 2020, due to low bloodstock availability in Q1 2020. Additionally, expected spikes in post-lockdown demand should support robust Indian trade with key export partners.