Jurin stands firm on noodle prices

Jurin stands firm on noodle prices

A consumer browses a variety of instant noodles on the shelf at a supermarket in Bangkok.
A consumer browses a variety of instant noodles on the shelf at a supermarket in Bangkok.

Despite mounting calls for a hike in instant noodle retail prices by producers, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit remains adamant the price will remain frozen.

Mr Jurin said on Friday the ministry has not allowed any instant noodle producers to raise retail prices and pledged to maintain the prices as long as possible to prevent negative effects for consumers.

"The ministry feels sympathy for producers facing a sharp rise in oil prices and higher production costs for months because of the Russia-Ukraine war," he said. "But we believe it is essential to ask for cooperation from producers to continue to cap their product prices as long as possible to help alleviate consumers' hardships."

Mr Jurin said the ministry is also concerned about shortages if manufacturers decide to reduce their production capacity or stop production because of losses.

"Eventually, the ministry may allow them to raise the retail prices. Having expensive products in the market is better than shortages," he said. "But allowing a higher price should be based on having the least impact on end consumers."

Regarding reports of major instant noodle brands announcing they were increasing their prices, Mr Jurin said they only raised their wholesale prices and reduced retailers' profit margins, without affecting consumers.

The retail price of instant noodles remains capped at 6 baht per packet, he said.

Instant noodles are on the Commerce Ministry's price control list, meaning manufacturers are required to report the sales costs, production volume and inventory, as well as gain prior approval from the Internal Trade Department before they raise the prices of their products.

The price control list mainly covers essential items for daily use such as food, consumer products, agricultural products (fertilisers, pesticides, animal feed, tractors and rice harvesters), construction materials, paper, petroleum and medicines.

Listed foods include garlic, rice paddy, milled rice, corn, eggs, cassava, wheat flour, powdered/fresh milk, sugar, vegetable/animal oil and pork.

Services on the price control list include delivery for online businesses, agriculture-related services, medical services and other healthcare services, and payment services at service points.

There are 52 items on the state price control list, including instant noodles, 47 of which are products and five services.

Amid growing pressure from rising oil prices, which greatly affect manufacturers' production costs, the Commerce Ministry has vowed to maintain consumer goods prices as long as possible to ensure a minimal impact on consumers.

Products with price caps include instant noodles, fresh and raw cooking materials such as meat and eggs, canned food, packaged rice, seasoning sauces, vegetable oils, soft drinks, dairy products, electric appliances, detergents, fertilisers, insecticides, pet food, steel, cement, paper, pills and medical supplies.

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