Tilapia, the leading US seafood import from China, has seen a dramatic increase in imports for the month of June. Frozen tilapia fillet imports for June 2018 were recorded at 19 million pounds, up the previous month. This 57% from figure is in range of the previous 10-year average of 21.2m lbs., however this, is the largest May to June increase recorded with import data dating back to 1998.
Many industry players are reporting they have just recently began seeing an increase in Tilapia sales where some are attributing the movement to demand shifting from record high Pangasius prices, while others believe people are securing inventory prior to tariffs going into effect.
It is important to note, however, that both April (-42%) and May (-34%) imports fell significantly below the previous 10-year average. One major factor attributed to the diminishing imports after Chinese New Year points to inflated replacement prices with the increase in raw materials at the time. Replacement prices quickly fell in response to the fallen demand.
At the moment, price remains stable at their current listed levels as demand is starting to pick up. This could all change, should trade representatives implement the 10-25% tariffs come September. Just like the rest of the industry, we will all have to just wait and see.