Costly mandarin oranges due to poor harvest, says dealer

A worker arranges boxes of mandarin oranges.

SIBU: Mandarin oranges are costly this Chinese New Year due to poor harvest in China but according to Sibu Grocery Dealers Association chairman Yeo Keng Teck, they are cheaper than those sold last year.

“However, there is a slight increase in the price this year, especially the bigger oranges, due to the drop in supply (harvest).

“Fortunately, our ringgit is stronger against the US dollar to cushion the impact,” he told reporters here recently.

Yeo, who is also Chinese Section secretary of Sibu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI), said mandarin oranges were costlier last year due to the strong US currency.

“If I’m not mistaken, the exchange rate was US$1 for RM4.30 around this time last year.

“However, just two weeks ago the rate was about RM3.90 to the US dollar.”

Yeo said he imported lesser quantity of mandarin orange this year, adding that his wholesaler friends had also reduced their imports of the fruit.

“I don’t dare order bigger quantity this year, looking at the people’s purchasing power. In fact, I am not ordering bigger mandarin oranges at all to be safe.

“After Chinese New Year, there will be no more demand for the oranges.”

Touching on the market outlook, he figured that the people’s purchasing power would not appear strong this year.

He reasoned that parents had just spent on school items such as books, shoes and uniforms and would need to wait for bonuses – if any – to prepare for the festive celebration.

“In Sarawak — Sibu in particular — it will again be last minute shopping for the majority of people,” he said.

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