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The Wild Gourmet Market Report
By Tom Folinsbee

Japanese Public Holidays

April 29 - May 5 Golden Week Oct 10 Sports Day
Aug 13 - 15 Obon Nov 3 Culture Day
Sept 15 Respect for the Aged Day Nov 23 Labor Day
Sept 23 Autumn Equinox Dec 23 Emperor's Birthday

Japan is one day ahead of North America

Sunday November 09, 2003
07:45:07 PM


* Japanese auction prices are only published for the month of October. I've updated prices to Oct 31st. You can view all my price data at * The main problem with Japanese auction price data is that it doesn't accurately reflect grading. Generally, the most stable benchmark is the high price. * When comparing prices, bear in mind that the North American white matsutake, although similar, is a distinct species from the product harvested in Japan, China and Korea. * Japanese customs data is published monthly and includes off-market transactions. I will do some year-on-year comparsions before next season. * If you are interested in contributing the North American Depot Price Survey next season, please let me know, and I will send you a reminder next year. * This is my last report of the year. See you next fall!

Thursday October 23, 2003
09:56:24 PM


Since the start of the month, Canadian auction prices at Tokyo's Ota market have averaged C$40-26-18 and US product have averaged US$27-21-15. Please note, these are high-mid-low prices, and do not reflect grading. Prices and volumes are generally higher in Osaka.

* The past week has seen the highest auction prices of the season. The range between the high and low prices has also been growing. The volatility of Japanese auction prices is partly due to the fact that they do not reflect grading levels. The mid price is the most common price, not the average price. The most stable benchmark for day-to-day comparison is the high price.

* I added some new charts to illustrate the relationship between price and volume. I used the high price from Ota market for both American and Canadian product. For volume, I used total market volume in Tokyo, including imports from other countries. Hard to draw any firm conclusions yet, but I will redo the charts when I get the more detailed monthly customs data.

* The full Matsutake Report is available at It includes depot prices, prices charts, latest prices from Tokyo and Osaka and aggregate market volume. Please send me an email to if want to be on the distribution list

Thursday October 16, 2003
09:40:20 AM


Mid-month Market Summary Oct 1 - Oct 15

Just did a quick comparison between 2001, 2002 and 2003 auction prices. So far, I've only looked at Canadian matsutake sold each year between Oct 1st and Oct 15th. I also only used data for the Ota market in Tokyo, which accounts for 15-20% of total reported auction volumes. The results could be quite different if we could include other markets, but unfortunately, the data for the largest market, Osaka Honjo, doesn't break volume by country. There were 11 trading days in each period. The Japanese customs service compiles comprehensive monthly statistics, but most likely they won't be released for a few months.

Volume is down 40%, compared to the same period last year, and down 56% compared to 2001.

Hi prices are down 14% over 2002 and down 37% since 2001.

Mid prices are down 17% over 2002 and down 28% since 2001.

Lo prices are down 3% over 2002 and down 28% over 2001.

The C$ is 5% stronger than last year and 6% stronger than 2001, so the drop in Yen terms will be lower by these amounts.

The Mid price is the most common price during the day. The Low price is the 2nd most common price, below the medium. And the high price is the highest price during the day.

Normally, you would expect lower prices alongside higher volume, not lower volume. But because most exporting costs are fixed, it seems to me that exporters have their hands tied. It's either pay rock bottom prices, or close up shop, which it seems some are doing. I know this isn't as exciting as a good conspiracy theory, but does this sound like a reasonable explanation for low depot prices? -Tom

Wednesday October 15, 2003
04:16:27 AM


Oct 15th

* Japanese domestic prices have been steadily dropping since the start of October. Matsutake from Iwate prefecture has fallen from highs of C$1300/lb at the start of the month to C$300-400/lb in recent days.

* Product from Okayama Prefecture showed up on the Osaka market today and fetched a high price of only C$216/lb.

* The official aggregate market volume on Oct 15th fell to 4.8 metric tons, less than 50% the daily average of 10.6 metric tons since the start of the month. Most of the drop was due to negligible volume on the Osaka Main market of 338kg, compared to 8808kg the previous day.

* North American depot prices continue to rise, with at least one buyer in Terrace paying C$8/lb for #1s. We've added Bella Coola to the list with yesterday's prices of C$/lb of 6-4-3-2. Readers are encouraged to send updated prices or post on

* The full Matsutake Report is available at It includes depot prices, prices charts, latest prices from Tokyo and Osaka and aggregate market volume. Please send an email to if you want to be on the distribution list.

Monday October 13, 2003
11:14:11 PM


I should have also pointed out that Tokyo's OTA market reported its highest prices for Canadian and American matsutake this month Oct 11th - C$58/lb & US$32/lb respectively.

Monday October 13, 2003
10:34:53 PM


* Mexican product makes its debut at Osaka Main Market. Auction prices are comparable to Canadian and American product.


* Overall market volume has been trending up, driven by Osaka's 50% increase in daily turnover since the start of October. Osaka Main market dominates with 51% market share. No matsutake data published for Osaka Main market on Oct 11th.



* Some very low prices for Canadian matsutake were reported from Osaka East Market - between C$3 and C$10/lb. The individual markets do not disclose quantities by country.


* At least one exporter has reportedly suspended purchases in the Terrace, BC area as buying pressure pushes prices to $4-5/lb, up from season lows of $2-3.


* US-based depot buyers appear to be paying a premium over their Canadian counterparts, although this is conclusion is based on incomplete and unverified data.


* The full Matsutake Report is available at It includes depot prices, prices charts, latest prices from Tokyo and Osaka and aggregate market volume. Please send me an email to if want to be on the distribution list.

Friday October 10, 2003
10:24:26 AM


Date: Friday October 10, 2003 Time: 09:54:48 AM


I've posted the latest market report at .Wild Gourmet Matsutake Report  A few changes:

* Charts so you can get a better feel for Japanese price trends.

* Prices from Osaka Main and Osaka East markets.

* Total daily volume, broken down by individual market: Ota, Tsukiji, Yodabashi, Osaka East and Osaka Main.

Interesting to note that Mexican product is showing up in Osaka. Prices seem comparable to Canadian and American matsutake. Also, daily volume in Osaka is up almost 60% since the start of the month. Tokyo is flat.

The matsutake report is now being distributed to retailers and importers in Japan. If you'd like promote awareness among Japanese buyers about your local growing area, please feel free to contribute commentary about your local conditions or anything that will add some color to these dull numbers I'm compiling.

Hope you like the new format.

Tuesday October 07, 2003
02:26:05 AM



TOKYO - OTA Pounds Iwate -

China 2,420

Canada 220

America 440

North Korea 1,100

(rounded to the nearest 100kg)

C$/lb Hi Mid Lo

Canada 32.0 11.6 11.6

America 34.9 11.6 7.8


US$/lb Hi Mid Lo

Canada 23.9 8.7 8.7

America 26.0 8.7 5.8

If anyone wants me to post prices for other countries, or for Tsukiji, Yodabashi, or Osaka, please let me know. Figure most people don't want to be overloaded with data!

Monday October 06, 2003
03:46:44 AM


Monday, October 6, 2003

TOTAL IMPORT VOLUME 9,887 pounds (4,494 kg)

BY SALE METHOD Auction: 37% Direct: 63%

BY MARKET (Canadian product only) Ota: 41% 26-21-9 Tsukiji: 36% 24-17-15 Yodabashi: 14% 26-xx-9

BY COUNTRY (Tokyo-OTA only) Pounds Japan 542-380-109 <227 N. Korea 58-46-43 227 China 65-22-22 227 USA 20-17-15 136 Canada 34-23-20 91

All prices US$/lb

Sources: By country data from MAFF statistics; Others from Tokyo Central Wholesale Market.

Please note discrepancy in Market vs Country prices for Canadian product.

Sunday October 05, 2003
06:58:39 PM


Saturday Oct 4th - Tokyo Market Report

Good morning, I've incorporated more detailed information from the 8 Tokyo-area markets. The previous data source only included Tokyo-OTA and Osaka-Honjo. There are some discrepancies between the data sources which I'm trying to resolve. Any suggestions or questions, please let me know. - Tom

VOLUME Total Volume from 8 Tokyo-area markets: 7,406 lbs Sale method: Auction: 32% ; Direct Sale: 68% Market: Tsukiji - 30% ; Ota - 47% ; Yodabashi - 11% others 12%

PRICES (US$/lb) America: No consignments according to the market stats. According to the MAFF stats: 220 lbs at 29 / 17 / 14

Canada: Tsukiji Auction 21 / 17 / 13 Direct 21 / 17 / 13

Ota Auction 26 / 17 / 15 Direct 26 / x / x According to MAFF stats: 660lbs @ 29 / 23/ 20

Yodabashi Auction none Direct 26 / x / 9

Korea: (small size) Tsukiji Auction 107 / 86 /64 Direct 107 / 86 /64


*** MAFF stats refer to a second set of prices compiled by the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). I faxed the MAFF over the weekend with some questions which I hope will clarify the discrepancy between their prices and those sourced directly from the markets.

MAFF only includes results from the OTA market. MAFF stats refer to 150g baskets, the market stats refer to 1kg baskets.

Saturday October 04, 2003
08:49:50 AM



* Total volume was 23,504 lbs

* Osaka Honjo's stats don't breakdown daily volume by country of origin.

* Apparently only 400g (15oz) baskets were traded this week at Osaka Honjo. Interestingly, 150g (5oz) baskets seem to be the norm for Tokyo OTA.

* An American consigment was auctioned on Oct 1st and fetched US$27 / 8 / 7 per pound.

* A Canadian consignment on Oct 2nd brought in US$25 / 16 / 13 per pound.

* By comparsion Korean prices on Oct 3rd were US$ 197 / 108 / 87 per pound. Chinese product on the same day was valued at US$72 / 33 / 17.

Friday October 03, 2003
01:56:15 AM


Wild Gourmet Market Report for Oct 4

* Canadian consignments accounted for almost one quarter of volume, reducing China's market share to 54%. American exports accounted for about 8% while Japanese and North Korea product sales dipped below the 220lb reporting threshold.

* Mid-range prices for Chinese, American and Canadian product traded at similar levels, ranging from US$20-22.

* North Korean product fetched a high price of US$58/lb for imported matsutake, although quantities were limited.

* Again, no auction trades were reported from Osaka Honjo.

Notes: * All quantities are expressed in US$ / pound, converted at 2.2 lbs per kilogram * All quantities are rounded to the nearest 220 pounds by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. As a result there will be some rounding errors. * This report only covers consignments sold at auction, and excludes direct transactions between market participants. I'm still working on those!

Friday October 03, 2003
01:55:48 AM


Wild Gourmet Market Report for Oct 3

* Chinese product again dominated market volume, accounting for 71% of market, followed by Canada (14%), and Korea and North Korea, each trailing with 7%. There were no consignments from America recorded in the MAFF auction statistics. Total auction volume at OTA as 1400kg (3080lbs).

* Canadian consignments fetched US$ 28 / 19 / 9, a good improvement over Wednesday's prices: US$20.2 / 11.6 / 8.7 and broadly inline with high and mid Chinese product prices of US$29 / 17 / 15.

* Interestingly, 150gram (about 5oz) baskets dominated, indicating that the Japanese importers seem to re-graded and repackage after the consignments arrive in Japan.

* No auction trades were reported from Osaka Honjo

01 Oct 2003
9:49:24 PM


The Wild Gourmet Market Report - Oct 1, 2003

* Total market volume yesterday in Tokyo (OTA) was about 1600kg (3,520lbs).

* Chinese consignments accounted for just over 60% of total import volume, followed by Korea and the US each with a 13% market share. Canada trailed with only a 6% market share.

* Korea matsutake fetched the highest import prices: C$/87.3/87.3/69.8 (US$65.1/65.1/52.1), followed by China:C$42.7/23.3/19.4 (US$31.8/17.4/14.5).

* While the US product had a larger market share, Canadian matsutake fetched at 17% premium over the highest-priced American consignment.

* Canadian prices ranged from C$27.2/15.5/11.6 (US$20.2/11.6/8.7), broadly in line with US prices: C$23.3/15.5/13.6 (US$17.4/11.6/10.1).

Exchange Rates: Yen/US$ = 110; Yen/C$ = 82. All prices are quoted $/lb, Hi/Mid/Lo.

Some of you may be interested in a study I'm working on that examines the way matsutake profits are distributed between harvesters, buyers, packers, exporters, shippers, importers, auction houses and wholesalers.

If you would like to contribute local depot prices from your area - both historical and current - please contact me at



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