Cost of Fruits Batters Pocketbooks in Lunar New Year Preparations

South Korea now has the world's most expensive apples.

Cost of Fruits Batters Pocketbooks in Lunar New Year Preparations

Photo: Typical charye table. Credit: Yonhap News.

Families shopping for the Lunar New Year 설날 holidays, which begin on February 9 this year, are experiencing sticker shock - especially when it comes to the price of fruits, an essential part of Lunar New Year celebrations. According to the Bureau of Statistics 통계청, the price of apples rose by an eye-popping 56.8% year-over-year in January, and the price of pears rose by 41.2% in the same period. The prices of persimmons and tangerines rose by 39.7% and 39.8%, respectively. 

South Korea has long been the home to the world’s most expensive fruits - especially apples and pears, for which the country bans imports. This year, a combination of general inflation and a poor harvest following last summer’s heavy rains has meant runaway price increases for fruits. This year, setting a typical charye 차례 table - the traditional Lunar New Year ritual for commemorating ancestors, featuring a variety of fruits - will cost a record KRW 281k (USD 210).

According to a January 29 survey by the Rural Development Administration 농촌진흥청, 98% of respondents said they felt burdened by prices as the Lunar New Year approaches. 65% said the cost of fruits was the most significant burden. 

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