KUALA LUMPUR: A decreased supply of mandarin oranges, and a stronger US dollar, will make mandarin oranges more costly next Chinese New Year.
Importers in Singapore expect the price of mandarin oranges to be up to 20% more in the Year of the Rooster, according to a report in the Straits Times (ST).
It is likely that Malaysians, too, will have to pay higher prices for mandarin oranges.
The price rose last year, too, due to a weaker ringgit and an uncertain economic outlook. It was reported that sales of the fruit here had dropped last year.
Chinese New Year falls on Jan 28.
The ST quoted Kelvin Ong, category manager of fruits at Cold Storage, as saying that Typhoon Megi, which hit Taiwan in September, and a January frost in China had caused a 20% drop in supplies of the fruit.
He estimated that mandarin orange prices would increase by 10 to 15 % in general, though he said the supermarket chain was in discussions with suppliers to keep prices as close to last Chinese New Year’s levels as possible.
Singapore Fruits and Vegetables Importers and Exporters Association vice-chairman Tan Chin Hian was quoted as saying the stronger US dollar was another factor that could drive prices up, because transactions for the fruit were done in US dollars.
Mandarin oranges mainly come from China, Taiwan, Pakistan, Japan and South Korea. Some also come from Australia and Argentina.
The report said importers believed that fewer mandarin oranges might be sold this coming festive season.
But some consumers told the ST they would still buy mandarin oranges even if prices went up as the fruit was associated with prosperity. Its name sounds like the word “luck” in Mandarin. -FMT