In the 1994 film Forrest Gump, the title character played by actor Tom Hanks becomes an overnight success in shrimp farming in Louisiana when his competition gets wiped out by a hurricane and his boat is the only one standing. There could be parallels here for the Asian shrimp industry.
On Monday, Hurricane Ida struck the south of the US. In Louisiana, where the shrimp industry is worth US$1.3bn and employs over 15,000 people, 30% of the shrimp fleet has been destroyed, according to Reuters. Boats have been sunk and storage facilities decimated – about 50% of the storage facilities are currently out of action.
Although media reports have focused on Hurricane Ida's impact on the US oil industry, the devastation on the shrimp industry could be far worse.
Asia is the mainstay of the world's shrimp supply with the US as the leading market
The potential shortage of domestic shrimp supply in the US from Hurricane Ida could drive up imports. This would be advantageous for Asian shrimp players such as Charoen Pokphand Foods and Thai Union.
Asian countries like Thailand and China are the principal suppliers of shrimp globally with the US and Japan the main importers.
Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 drove up shares of Asian shrimp producers
There is a precedent – on 20 April 2010, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill severely damaged the US shrimp industry's infrastructure in the region, with shrimp supply falling by over 30%.
This benefited companies such as Charoen Pokphand Foods and Thai Union, with shares of both stocks rising sharply thereafter.
Asian stocks with seafood exposure
The potential for increased US imports of Asian shrimp is positive for seafood stocks in the region. We list below some of the beneficiaries that investors should watch: