Call for cap on utility prices

Call for cap on utility prices

FTI urges action to ease cost of living

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) wants the government to put a cap on electricity, water and cooking gas prices to slow down living cost increases as well as push stimulus measures as the Thailand Industry Sentiment Index (TISI) continued to increase to 88 points in January.

Authorities should consider adjusting the oil excise tax to better control domestic oil prices, now driven by the global oil price surge, said Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the FTI.

"The conflict between Ukraine and Russia is putting pressure on global oil prices, which are soaring," he said.

Expensive oil will lead to higher transport and logistics costs, which will eventually affect prices of consumer products.

"The FTI is asking transport and logistics operators to gradually adjust their service prices or delay price increases as changes will have a direct impact on production costs in the industrial sector," said Mr Supant.

The federation wants the government to ensure the diesel price will not exceed 30 baht per litre and solve a shortage of some raw materials in order to help entrepreneurs avoid more financial burden.

Authorities also need to adjust its stimulus measures to help people better deal with the cost of living. Mr Supant suggested the government increase its 1,200-baht subsidy in the co-payment subsidy scheme.

According to the FTI, industrial operators became more confident in the domestic economy as the TISI continued to increase in January, up from 86.8 points in December last year.

The index has continued to increase for five consecutive months and returned to a level before Thailand was hit by Covid-19 in early 2020.

Despite a concern over business operating costs, demand for goods, including durable goods, in domestic and overseas markets kept growing in January. Manufacturers were also satisfied with the government's decision not to impose lockdown measures.

The January TISI was based on a survey of 1,335 enterprises in 45 industries.

Fuel prices were cited by 70.1% on a list of worries, followed by political uncertainties (45.5%), foreign exchange rate fluctuations (43.8%) and interest rates (42.6%).

The pandemic situation in January was considered to be a factor that made respondents feel relaxed, receiving the most votes (60.1%).

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