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Ramadan drives down skipjack tuna price to record lows

The end of the fasting festival will raise prices again, exec tells IntraFish.

The festival of Ramadan, where the huge international Muslim community fasts during the hours of daylight, is a large contributing factor to the low tuna prices plaguing the Thai industry, one Thai canned tuna exec told IntraFish.

Falling this week to a low of $1,250 per metric ton, Diamond Food Product Marketing Executive Thanyakorn Pindaruchi said that the end of Ramadan next month will raise prices again as the Middle East and other key Muslim markets for Thai tuna end their period of fasting.

"I am not sure what it will rise to," said Pindaruchi. "In 2017 it was at $2,600, now it is at $1,250. It is unpredictable."

Diamond Food has been in the tuna canning business for the last four years and ships 45 metric tons per day to the growing Middle Eastern markets.

In a battle to raise margins, like many, the company is diversifying into more value-addition and recently launched a range of canned tuna with flavored oils, sauces and vegetables.

"In the future we will do pouches," said Pindaruchi, adding that dried tuna snack products as well as the pet food and omega-3 oil industry were also possibilities for growth.

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