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Fish and veggie prices soar, but customers undeterred

SINGAPORE — Singaporeans will be paying twice as much as usual to dine on pomfret this Chinese New Year, as prices at wet markets continue to soar — par for the course when the festive season rolls around.

Fish and veggie prices soar, but customers undeterred

Prices of pomfret have increased to about S$70 to S$80. Photo: Ernest Chua/TODAY

SINGAPORE — Singaporeans will be paying twice as much as usual to dine on pomfret this Chinese New Year, as prices at wet markets continue to soar — par for the course when the festive season rolls around.

Some vegetables also cost more than usual, not just because of Chinese New Year, but also because bad weather is affecting supply, said stallholders TODAY spoke to. 

At the Chinatown Wet Market in Chinatown Complex, prices of pomfret range from S$70 to S$100 per kilo, double the usual amount. 

Selling pomfret at about S$70 to S$80 per kg, seafood stallholder Eddie Seetow said that the prices of some seafood items have been decreasing in the past week due to low demand, but the price of pomfret has continued to increase due to limited supply and high demand. 

“The Chinese market is very big, and there is a high demand for Chinese pomfret, so the supply to Singapore is very low,” he said. 

At the wet market at Tekka Centre, prices of pomfret ranged from S$60 to S$80 per kilo — twice the usual price. The Lee Chuan Seng Fishery stall sold prawns for S$25, 20 per cent more than the usual price. Grouper was selling for around S$80, up 50 per cent. 

The owner, who did not want to be named, pointed to high demand during Chinese New Year as the reason for the hikes. 

Pomfret at Ghim Moh Market also saw an increase in price, selling for  about S$80, compared with S$35 usually. Mr James Lee, owner of James Monger, said prices of most fish rose 30 per cent. Bad weather, coupled with the need to meet the huge demand from countries such as China, Indonesia and Malaysia, also crimped supply, he said.

The price hikes, said stallholders, was largely in line with the increases last year.

As for vegetables, some varieties saw little change in price, but bad weather has pushed up the cost of certain vegetables such as tang-oh (garland chrysanthemum), which is popularly used as a steamboat ingredient.

Chew Brothers Trading at the Tekka Centre wet market reported a 30 per cent increase in the price of vegetables. “(The increased prices are) not really because of Chinese New Year ... But because of the rainy season, (supplies of vegetables) are not coming in,” said the owner, who did not want to be named.

Another stallholder selling vegetables at the Ghim Moh Market said tang-oh usually costs between S$8 and S$10 per kg, but now costs S$20 per kg.
 
He said: “This year (the prices are) worse, because of the bad weather ...  and the increase in demand in Malaysia and Singapore.”

However, some customers remained unfazed by the higher prices, shrugging it off as the norm for the festive season. 

Said Ms Khimmy Lim, 40, who was shopping for fish and prawns: “It’s a once a year thing, so everyone wants to make a profit out of it. It’s expected.”

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