Durian supply glut leads to record low prices that could last for weeks, say sellers

SPH Brightcove Video
A spike in supplies from Malaysian plantations in Pahang, Johor and Genting Highlands has led to an excess of durians and plummeting prices, say durian sellers

SINGAPORE - A glut of durians coming from across the Causeway has resulted in record low prices, with the highly sought-after musang king variety going for as little as $16 a kg.

A spike in supplies from Malaysian plantations in Pahang, Johor and Genting Highlands has meant an excess of durians and plummeting prices, said durian sellers The Straits Times spoke to.

Mr Ooi Meng Lee, 70, owner of 211 House of Durian in Toa Payoh, said this is the biggest drop in durian prices in 10 years, although there is a yearly seasonal dip in December.

At his shop, the price of the AAA grade musang king, which is the top tier of the durian variety, is now $25 a kg – a 38 per cent drop from $40 a kg six months ago.

The no-frills musang king durian variety costs $16 a kg, down 36 per cent from $25 a kg about six months ago.

Mr Ooi, who has been selling durians for about 25 years, said sales at his shop have gone up by 40 per cent since prices dropped.

He said: “Business hasn’t been as good as the economy isn’t great right now. With inflation and the upcoming GST hike, people are tightening their belts more.

“But more people have been buying from my store nowadays due to the lower prices, so that’s very good.”

The goods and services tax (GST) will rise to 8 per cent from Jan 1, 2023.

Customers enjoying the durians at 211 House Of Durian on Dec 10, 2022. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Mr Steven Tan, a worker at the SAM Fruit Trading store in Ang Mo Kio, said his shop has been getting more durians as suppliers are now not selling their stocks to China, which has been battling a Covid-19 wave.

“I think the lower prices will last until Chinese New Year,” said Mr Tan, who is in his 30s.

The prices of other varieties of durian at his shop have dropped by up to almost 50 per cent. The popular black gold durian now sells for about $18 to $20 a kg, down by as much as 44 per cent from $32 a kg six months ago.

The D24 durian sells for about $12 a kg, down 33 per cent from $18 six months ago.

One shopkeeper, who declined to give his name, said low prices could also mean smaller durians.

He said: “There are musang king durians sold for $9 a kg, but they’re the really small ones.”

Combat Durian owner Linda Ang, 56, said prices could also have dropped as there are fewer customers now, with many people overseas for the holiday season.

She said: “Malaysia is also open now, so people can go there for durians instead of buying them locally. The lower demand leads to lowered prices too.”

She added that prices might rise again in a couple of weeks.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.