Hairy crab prices in Jiangsu and Shanghai have dropped to the lowest level in five years due to the unusually warm weather this autumn and an abundant supply.
In many wholesale market, the wholesale price for male crabs weighing about 200 grams is 60 yuan (US$8.78) per kilogram now, less than half the 160-yuan per kilogram charged in early September when the crabs just hit the market. Female crabs weighing 150 grams each were sold for 120 yuan per kilogram. Most of these crabs were from Jiangsu Province, including Suzhou's Yangcheng Lake, and that the ones from Anhui Province are even cheaper.
In some wet markets, the cheapest price for a 150-gram male crab was only 5 yuan to 7 yuan each one.
The low prices were due to warm temperatures in September and October as the crabs are more likely to die. To reduce losses, crab sellers lower the prices to sell the crabs quickly.
Supply has also exceeded demand. Hairy crab producers in different provinces all compete for the Shanghai market since prices had increased significantly in recent years, said Dai Honggen, an expert in aquatics products at Jiangyang Aquatic Products Market.
Despite declining prices for common hairy crabs, crabs from Yangcheng Lake in Jiangsu Province, considered the tastiest, still fetch a good price. Crabs weighing 150 grams cost 316 yuan per kilogram while those tipping the scales at 200 grams cost 576 yuan per kilogram.
The Jindazha hairy crab monopoly store has sold more than 60 tons of hairy crabs since the season opened on September 10, 10 percent more last year.
Yang said Yangcheng Lake crab prices won’t drop too much as sellers will want to protect the brand.
Hairy crab season usually runs from September to December.