Foods needed for lunar New Year to be cheap

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Foods needed for lunar New Year to be cheap

Thanks to cheaper fruit prices as a result of hardly any typhoon damage this year, the cost of preparing traditional dishes for the lunar New Year will likely decline 2.8 percent next year compared to this year, the retail industry reported yesterday.

Local discount chain Lotte Mart said it expects?preparing New Year dishes and memorial spreads for ancestors will?cost 189,460 won ($179.80) for a family of four, according to its forecast of prices of 28 items.

The savings are due to stabilized prices of fruits and vegetables thanks to favorable weather conditions and expanded farming.

Prices of 10 out of the 28 products will fall while six will increase and 12 will remain the same as this year.

Prices of fruit, vegetables and fish will decline 2 to 9 percent, while the price of livestock products will rise more than 4 percent on average.

The selling price of a set of five pears will be 10,000 won, down 32 percent from this year, the chain said. A set of five apples will be about the same as this year at 14,700 won.

The vegetable crops have been buoyant this year.

A standard pack of spinach is forecast to sell for 2,700 won, down 25 percent from this year. The price of a young pumpkin is expected to be 2,500 won, 24 percent down from this year.

The price of hanwoo, or Korean beef, will remain similar to this year, while the price of pork will increase. But the price of fish will fall steeply.

A 400-gram (14-ounce) package of A+ hanwoo is expected to be retailed for 15,200 won - the same as this year - and 400 grams of hanwoo for soups will also be the same at 13,600 won.

But the price of 500 grams of pork is expected to be 3,750 won, up 25 percent from this year.

“This year, the cost of preparing annual memorial services for ancestors during the New Year will somewhat be reduced,” said a spokesman for Lotte Mart.

BY KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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