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Chinese New Year Feasting Sends Price Of Fish Soaring

Feb 15 2007 (TODAY)

First, vegetables prices were sent soaring by the floods in Johor. Now,
the price of fish has gone the same way this festive season - possibly
hitting a five-year high.

While price hikes around the Chinese New Year period are common, extreme
weather patterns have given consumers a double whammy this year.

A fish porridge stall-holder at Thomson Road, Madam Tan, said: "I've been
selling mackerel since 1997, and this year's price increase is the worst.
Normally, the fish is about $8-plus a kilogramme. Now, it's $12 to $13."

At Tiong Bahru market, mackerel was selling for an increase of between $4
and $12 a kilogramme. Stall-owners blame floodwaters and strong winds in
Indonesia and Malaysia, from where most of the fish is imported.

The price of pomfret, too, has shot up from about $20-plus a kilogramme to
as much as $40. Topping this is the threadfin, which costs about $45 a

But the price of salmon - the choice of fish for yu sheng dishes
(picture) - is not expected to rise, as the fish is farm-bred in places
such as Norway and not caught at sea, according to the president of the
Singapore Fish Merchants' General Association Lee Boon Cheow.

He and Mr Kenneth Lim, chairman of the Punggol Fish Merchants Association,
believe that windy conditions, which hinder fishermen, are mainly to blame
for the price hikes. But the impact is cushioned by the fact that
Singapore also imports fish from Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan,
Canada and India.

Meanwhile, stall-owners say the prices of leafy vegetables such as spinach
have gone down, from $5 a kilogramme to $2. But brinjals and lady's
fingers are still going for between $4.50 and $5 a kilogramme, twice as
much as usual. - 938LIVE