Sorry, I screwed up the price prediction last season!
Firstly, let me start off by saying a big sorry. Sorry to have screwed up the prediction.
All initial signs pointed to a drastic price drop in the last season -
Firstly, Malaysia's demand for durians fell significantly due to the implementation of MCOs.
Next, with the border closures, Chinese tourists number plummeted to almost zero, both in Malaysia and China.
Thirdly, all major events were not allowed to be carried out. The Work-From-Home policy resulted in a 100% cancellation of outdoor durian parties.
So what happened? Not only did the durian prices fail to drop, in fact, it increased, and stayed high pretty much the whole of the May - Sep durian season.
No travel means more disposable income.
For most Singaporeans, taking a mid-year vacation is a ritual.
We usually budget at least a couple of thousand dollars for our mid-year vacay. Suddenly, all travel plans got cancel and we find ourselves with some extra cash to spare on recreational activities.
And since during the CB and Phase 1 period, there isn't many places to go for fun, guess where we spend our money on? Yeah, good food deliveries and of course, durians!
Gifting of durians.
No outdoor durian parties doesn't mean no parties at all.
Corporations turn to live streaming to have fun together - in their own houses.
We received and carried out numerous corporate orders to have durians pre-packaged and delivered to their employee's homes.
Besides corporations, we also received many durians orders which are gifted by family members, relatives and close friends, who, because of CB, could not meet up in person. So gifting is their way of saying I missed you Mom and Dad, let's meet up soon!
Surge in number of durian sellers.
Perhaps the most direct causality of the high durian prices was the sudden surge in the number of durian sellers.
Haven't you noticed on Facebook, during June - August, there was a deluge of new durian sellers, with their ads popping up all over?
All over Facebook, there were also new Facebook Live sellers peddling durians as well.
I did, and I was curious. And that's why I did some snooping around and found out that many of these new sellers are from the event industry that was guttered by Covid-19.
There were also former taxi or grab drivers who suddenly found themselves plying empty streets. Being caught totally off guard, they have little choice but to look for low-hanging fruits to stay afloat.
So what is going to be the price movement of durians this Dec - Feb21 season?
There's no telling.
Durian is a perfect competition. Market conditions are volatile, a volatility contributed by consumers taste and demand as well as the fickleness of Mother Nature.
I'm not going to put my head on the chopping board to give a definitive price forecast.
But from the current outlook, durian prices are likely to remain at the levels like we see during the last season.
Retail price for MSW should hover around the $25 - $29 per kg range during Dec. In January it may fall just slightly to $22 - $27 per kg. And I'm talking about just Grade A MSW.
I don't have any reason to believe prices of MSW will fall below $20 this season.