Durian prices fall due to low customer numbers, expected to dip further

King Fruits Durian slashed prices to $10 a durian on Nov 12, 2018.
King Fruits Durian slashed prices to $10 a durian on Nov 12, 2018.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

SINGAPORE - Prices for Mao Shan Wang durians are falling, as vendors in Singapore see a slump in customer numbers.

Mao Shan Wang durians - also known as Musang King - usually go for more than $20 per kg, but are now being sold for $16 to $20 per kg, according to four vendors The Straits Times spoke to.

One vendor that Lianhe Wanbao spoke to, King Fruits Durian, even slashed prices to $10 a durian on Monday (Nov 12).

Slow customer traffic is a large factor in this price drop. Ms Linda Ang, owner of Combat Durian, said: "Now is the school holiday period and people are going on holidays, so fewer people are buying."

Ah Seng Durian told ST that this is a common occurrence annually because the year-end period is not a time where people normally eat durians. A spokesman for the company said that besides the school holidays, other year-end activities affect the buying power of customers. For instance, they might be saving up instead for Christmas or new textbooks and uniforms for their children, he said.

"Companies usually spend on dinner and dance events in December so they don't have the budget for durian parties, which they may hold in June or July instead," he added.

Singaporeans might also be waiting for a better deal. "Durians are a luxury, and not a necessity. People have a wait-and-see attitude. They are waiting for prices to drop further before they buy," said the Ah Seng Durian spokesman.

Customers might not have to wait much longer, as some vendors are projecting that prices can fall to as low as $12 per kg in the coming weeks.

Mr Goh Hwee Leng, owner of Durian MPire by 717 Trading, expects the low prices to last till Christmas at least, with prices estimated to hover between $12 and $18 per kg. He also said that due to recent heavy rainfall, the quality of the durians have been slightly negatively affected.

Some vendors have also experienced a small surplus in durian supply that has contributed to the lower prices. Mr Alvin Teoh, owner of Durian36, said: "Our suppliers have had a good durian harvest recently. Prices are expected to fall to around $14 or $15 (per kg) because of the oversupply."

Durian lover Hendra Susanto, 45, a trader of natural resources, has already spent $400 on durians from Combat Durian in the past four days when prices ranged from $18 to $22 per kg, noting that the prices are "very good". He plans to buy more next month when prices fall further.

Currently, only Mao Shan Wang durians are in season. Other varieties like D13 or Red Prawn will only be available in the later part of December and may also be priced lower, said vendors.