Seasonal fruit prices increase sharply

2024.01.02 16:31:01 | 2024.01.02 18:13:01

[Photo by Kim Ho-young]이미지 확대

[Photo by Kim Ho-young]

Prices for seasonal fruits, including tangerines, strawberries, and sweet persimmons, are increasing sharply in South Korea.

According to the Korea Agro-Fisheries Trade Corp. on Monday, the price of high-quality, naturally grown Korean oranges for a 5-kilogram box was 21,240 won ($16.35) as of Friday, up 24.9 percent from 17,000 won a month earlier, and 28.1 percent from 16,584 won the year before. Compared to the three-year average price of 13,984 won (excluding the highest and lowest figures over a period of five years), the price jumped 51.9 percent.

The wholesale price of strawberries was 38,950 won for 2kg on the same day. Although no comparison data is available from the previous month, the price was up 3.2 percent from 37,750 won a week ago. It was also 13.4 percent higher compared to the price a year ago, which was 34,336 won, and 21 percent higher than the three-year average price of 32,203 won.

The reason for the strawberry price hike is the heatwave and heavy rains that the country experienced during the summer of 2023. The price of strawberries increased as production decreased due to the extreme weather conditions.

The change in persimmon prices is even more evident. The wholesale price of sweet persimmons was 54,420 won for 10kg, up 64 percent from 30,060 won a year ago, and is 57.8 percent higher than the three-year average price of 34,369 won. The price of persimmons jumped as anthracnose outbreaks reduced production by 32 percent last year compared to a year before.

For strawberries and persimmons, lower production led to price increases but for tangerines, prices have been rising for months despite minimal changes in production volumes.

As of the end of October last year, the price of a box of naturally grown tangerines was 15,544 won, and the price rose by 36.7 percent around the end of last month. The Korea Rural Economic Institute’s agricultural center attributes the price hike to the demand for the fruits. As tangerines are the only seasonal fruit widely available in the markets, the demand for tangerines has increased and led to a rise in prices. Surges in the prices of other fruit led the tangerine prices up as well.

The surge in fruit prices has been ongoing since fall 2023. Apple and pear prices are up more than 30 to 50 percent year-on-year, even in season and the steep spike is continuing into winter.

The price of Fuji apples was 83,600 won per 10kg on Friday, up 106.4 percent from 45,000 won a year ago and 88.7 percent from the past three-year average of 44,315 won. The price of Shingo pear was 74,400 won for 15kg, up 73.4 percent from 40,620 won a year ago and 44.7 percent from the three-year average of 48,681 won.

“Considering that it will soon be the Lunar New Year, there are not really many factors that could lower fruit prices for the time being,” a retail industry insider said.

By Cho Seong-sin and Chang Iou-chung

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper &, All rights reserved]