The COVID-19 pandemic reduced overall demand for shrimp in 2020. While international and domestic shrimp markets were characterized by strong retail trade, the foodservice sector encountered huge losses. Lately there has been a big boom in China’s catering industry associated with the mid-autumn festival in October. This may lead to the further opening of China’s restaurant industry in the coming months.

The shrimp aquaculture season in Asia was delayed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. After the early season’s panic harvests in April, pond stockings were delayed in most of the producing countries and resulted in the reduction of actual farming days during the lockdown period. Shrimp farmers also adopted low density aquaculture because of low ex-farm prices that persisted until August 2020.

In India, raw materials were short supplied during April – August 2020 while ex-farm prices remained at record low levels following the sharp contractions in global demand from the foodservice sector. In Viet Nam and Indonesia the supply situation was better. Export processors in those countries focused on value-added products and retail packaging in response to the changes in market demand.

Production in Thailand was low in 2020 compared with 2019 affecting raw material supplies for export processing. Thai farmers were discouraged by the weak ex-farm prices and tumbling tourism. In China, the domestic production also declined in 2020 due to shrimp disease and adverse weather conditions.