Fresh produce not affected by transport costs

PHOTO: The Straits Times

Those hoping that current low crude oil prices will translate into savings at the fresh foods section are in for a disappointment.

Fruit and vegetable sellers said the cost of their items is generally not affected by petrol costs incurred in transportation.

Instead, prices are more affected by the weather, which affects harvests and supply, they said.

With Chinese New Year round the corner, prices for certain items have increased by up to 50 per cent, due to a limited supply and increased demand.

Mr Tan Yong Xiang, who runs a fruit shop with his parents at Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre, said: "Even though it seems like things can be cheaper now, prices are not down because during the Chinese New Year period, prices will increase."

Some items that are more expensive now are spring onions, tomatoes and capsicums.

Mr Tan Chin Hian, vice-chairman of the Singapore Fruits and Vegetables Importers and Exporters Association, said cheap oil is not having much of an effect on the industry at the moment.

"There are no short-term effects for now. In fact, fruit and vegetables from the United States are more expensive to buy now because of the US dollar," he said.

Prices at supermarkets have also not shown any change.

A Sheng Siong supermarket spokesman said that so far, there has been no direct link between falling crude oil prices and the costs of the products carried and sold.

jalmsab@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on January 25, 2016.
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