Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, they just did. An auction in Japan revealed that the price of truffles has absolutely collapsed:
FT: Business executives and celebrities packed into a $300-per-head white truffle dinner at Tokyo’s Ritz-Carlton hotel for a three-way auction linked by satellite feed for this year’s haul of Alba white truffles from Italy’s Piedmont region.
The biggest truffle on the block, weighing 1.05kg, was carried off by a Japanese bidder who trumped European counterparts with his Y3.02m bid. A lot to pay for a tuber but an anaemic fraction of last year’s record $330,000 (Y32.4m, euro 257,802), paid by Macau casino owner Stanley Ho for a specimen weighing 1.5kg.
We won’t purport to understand fully the economics of the truffle market. Our hunch, though, is that it’s more like the wine market and the art market — prices set by what the rich are willing to pay — rather than, say, the oil market, where the prices are set by what it costs to drill that last barrel of oil. The stunning fall in truffles, which should be good news for high-end diners, mirrors what we’ve seen recently in some art auctions. Truffles (as far as we know) don’t keep forever, so truffle owners can’t just wait until the market recovers. (HT: Alex Kirtland)
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