Japan shrimp imports drop amid high prices, weak demand

Japan's frozen shrimp imports continue to decline.

Industry sources say that persistent poor demand for shrimp, along with high prices, has kept traders from buying.

Unlike the US, demand in Japan has not recovered from the high prices for shrimp caused by the early mortality syndrome crisis in Asia.

A weaker Japanese yen has meant that fewer retailers have reduced prices, while in the US, the strong dollar has led to shrimp price reductions being passed on at retail.

Also complicating the shrimp picture in Japan, many foodservice operations took shrimp off the menu when it got too expensive, and it has not been put back on.

The import volume in FY2015 (April 2015-March 2016) is predicted to dwindle 6% from the previous year, while consumption volume was reduced only by 2%, thereby contributing to liquidating the domestic demand by way of restraining imports.

As a result, it is anticipated that inventories have now been scaled down to a considerable extent.

This means that for 2016, shrimp volume could increase somewhat, but the overall volume will still represent a sizeable shrinkage from the average of the past few years.

Sales in the wholesale market in January sank after a strong period of sales at the end of the year, in December.

There are reports of buying inquiries for market size products from mass retailers, but their sales come to a standstill when prices are raised from the current level.

Market observers note there is not much cargo movement at present while the price is fixed in a high zone.

They say the market will not be vitalized unless there is development of new commodities, such as the case of whiskered velvet shrimp.

The wholesale price is predicted to weaken from a year before as the price last year was considerably high.

Still, the price will remain high as compared with average years


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