Indian shrimp exports set to nearly double to $7 billion by 2022: CRISIL

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CRISIL expects shrimp exports from India to nearly double to $7 billion by 2022, driven by strong demand, high quality, improved product mix, and an increase in aquaculture area in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal – even as its Asian rivals battle structural issues and rising domestic consumption.

In fiscal 2016, India became the biggest exporter of shrimps, pipping Vietnam by just $100 million. A year on, the country has decisively pulled ahead, racking up $3.8 billion exports even as Vietnam flatlined at approximately $3 billion.

Since 2010, shrimp production in Asia has been severely affected by diseases, floods, labour issues, and tightening environmental norms. Production in Vietnam has declined ~40% from peak levels because of shortage of fresh water, salinity intrusion and illegal shrimp farming. Thailand, which was once the top exporter, is now ranked 5th after a 65% plunge in production from peak levels. And in 2016, China’s shrimp production nosedived ~60% even as its consumption more than doubled, rendering it a marginal exporter. In addition, these countries also faced significant quality challenges.

On the other hand, Indian exporters have in the past few years emphasised on lower-density shrimp farms to control diseases, while maintaining quality across the value chain. What also helped was the use of resilient specific pathogen free (SPF) brood-stock imported from the United States. Consequently, between fiscal 2012 and 2017, India’s shrimp production doubled, and helped it grab the opportunity created by lower supplies from Asia.

CRISIL rates 75 shrimp exporters, whose revenues grew at a compound annual growth rate of 9 per cent between fiscals 2015 and 2017 to over $2.2 billion, and contributed to almost 60 per cent of India’s shrimp exports. Their gearing, or debt to equity ratio, has improved to under 1 time from over 1.3 times, and strengthened their credit profiles.

Says Subodh Rai, Senior Director, CRISIL Ratings: “As a result, between fiscals 2015 and 2017, the average credit ratio (or upgrades to downgrades) of CRISIL- rated shrimp exporters stood at over 7. This is significantly higher than the average credit ratio of about 1.4 times for entire CRISIL’s portfolio during the same period, which underscores the structural improvements and strong tailwinds in the sector.” 

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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