Producers' plea for price bump ignored

Producers' plea for price bump ignored

A variety of rice products are shelved at a Makro store. Makro launched a sale on more than 5,000 items until Sept 6 to ease living costs.
A variety of rice products are shelved at a Makro store. Makro launched a sale on more than 5,000 items until Sept 6 to ease living costs.

Despite manufacturers' insistence on the need to increase their product prices to cope with higher production and raw material costs, the Commerce Ministry remains adamant that prices should remain frozen.

The ministry is calling for continued cooperation from manufacturers to help maintain their product prices as long as possible in order to curb negative effects on consumers.

"The department talks with manufacturers every day and thanks them for their cooperation to maintain product prices," said Internal Trade Department director-general Wattanasak Sur-iam.

"Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit assigned the department to convince manufacturers to help maintain prices to prevent an impact on consumers and ensure sufficient supply of goods. The goal is manufacturers will still be able to make a profit."

Given a continuous rise in raw material costs because of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and the weakness of the local currency, the department also pledged to help manufacturers that import raw materials to source from affordable suppliers.

According to Mr Wattanasak, the ministry is concerned about shortages of consumer goods and food if manufacturers decide to reduce their production capacity or stop production because of losses.

He admitted eventually, the ministry has to allow manufacturers to raise retail prices, but said the timing of the hike should have the least impact on end consumers.

The ministry also pledged to keep a close watch on goods prices using provincial commerce officers, commercial volunteers and a "war room" chaired by the commerce permanent secretary.

The ministry has threatened to take legal action to prosecute merchants found to be price gouging.

The department vowed to continue rolling out Thong Fah (Blue Flag) low-priced schemes to distribute essential products and food to communities nationwide.

Siriporn Dechsingha, chief corporate communications officer of Siam Makro Plc, the cash and carry store operator, said overall consumer spending is improving on a gradual basis.

Despite an uptick in foreign tourist arrivals as the economy reopens, she said a sharp rise in energy prices and living costs as well as the slow pace of the country's economic recovery have led people to remain cautious in their spending.

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