Total global imports of crab (all types) declined by 9.8 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. However, US imports increased by 9.5 percent to 98 009 tonnes, while Chinese imports dropped by 19.1 percent to 46 714 tonnes. The COVID-19 pandemic must be blamed for at least part of this change, as China closed its borders to crab imports for part of the year. Total crab exports from the Russian Federation in 2020 rose by 9 percent compared to 2019, to USD 1.59 billion. Live crab exports rose by 20 percent to USD 652 million, with China and the Republic of Korea each accounting for just under 50 percent of the total. Russian exports of frozen crab increased by a mere 2 percent to USD 936 million, with the Netherlands and the Republic of Korea being the main markets. In the first quarter of 2021, Norwegian king crab exports amounted to 1 777 tonnes, double the corresponding 2020 figure.
Prices went down by 2 percent to USD 4.10 per kg. Export value soared to USD 52 million, the highest amount ever recorded for a first quarter. Export shipments were particularly strong to Hong Kong SAR, the Republic of Korea, the United States of America, and Viet Nam. US imports of crab (all types) rose by 7.3 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. All major suppliers (Canada, the Russian Federation, Indonesia) registered an increase in shipments. Imports of red king crab were up by 17 percent, while imports of blue king crab were down by 41 percent. Retail seafood sales increased by an impressive 28 percent in the United States of America in 2020, to USD 16.6 billion. The crab sector did particularly well, with sales increasing by 63 percent compared to 2019, to USD 1.3 billion. US importers of red and blue swimming crab are under pressure to obtain enough supplies. Production in Indonesia, the major supplier, is slow and supplies are short, with prices predictably climbing. However, the rising prices are not believed to be a result of increasing demand but rather of very tight supplies. US imports of blue swimming crab were down by 9 percent in 2020 compared with 2019. All of the decline was thought to be due to lack of supplies. Indonesia supplied over 50 percent of swimming crab imports into the United States of America in 2020. Venezuela, the Philippines, China and Viet Nam were the other major suppliers.