The COVID-19 epidemic has spread beyond the borders of China to countries such as Thailand and Malaysia where not only "the cities are closed" but "the entire country is closed". Thailand and Malaysia are important exporters of durian to the Chinese market. The durian export of Thailand runs the risk of achieving 'zero growth' this year.
Last week, durian traders in Thailand began to discuss the impact of COVID-19 epidemic on durian exports. If the Chinese market does not receive the durian from Thailand, then the country has no other option but to shift their durian to the domestic market or export the durian to Vietnam.
The durian production areas in the east of Thailand entered the harvest season this month and will reach peak season in May. The most important export market for durian from this area is China. However, although most Chinese ports began to resume operations earlier this month, many of them are still having some difficulty processing the large volumes of import fruit.
The average price of durian from Thailand was around 30-33 yuan [4.23-4.65 USD] per kg. This year that price already dropped to 22-26 yuan [3.10-3.67 USD] per kg.
Malaysia "closes the country", durian industry struggles
The newly elected prime minister of Malaysia, Muhyiddin Yassin, announced on the 16th of March at 22:00 that new restrictions on movement would take effect from the 18th of March and continue until the 31st of March. This announcement to "close the country" has a severe impact on the Malaysian durian industry.
Malaysian media report that the price of Musang King durian should be rising because the harvest season is coming to an end. However, due to the outbreak of the corona virus, the number of Chinese tourists has plummeted. As a result, the price of Musang King durian has fallen by 20%-30%.