ITD: Don't fiddle food prices
The government warns food vendors not to rush in raising their prices following the rise in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices, saying the increase should not have a great effect on the production cost of individual dishes and noodles.
Boonyarit Kalayanamit, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said the department's study had found the increase of the LPG retail price by 1.03 baht to 24.16 baht per kilogramme would affect the production cost for individual dishes and noodles by only 30 satang.
"This is not a reason for vendors to raise their prices by five to 10 baht a dish, which we consider unreasonable," he said.
He added the prices of other raw materials such as pork, chicken, eggs and fresh vegetables had yet to increase, with some items cheaper than in the same period last year.
Mr Boonyarit said to prevent profiteering by food vendors the ministry had assigned its authorities nationwide to monitor and inspect food prices closely.
The Energy Policy Administration Committee approved on Tuesday an end to the seven-year subsidy scheme for LPG. As a result, the domestic LPG retail price rose yesterday to 24.16 baht per kg for all sectors, excluding 7% value-added tax.
Only low-income groups and street food vendors who register with the Energy Ministry can buy subsidised LPG for 18.13 baht.
The committee also approved a price increase for compressed natural gas (CNG) of one baht per kg effective yesterday to reduce the losses of PTT Plc, the sole seller of CNG. CNG for private transport operators now costs 12.50 baht, while public transport operators must pay 9.50 baht.
Mr Boonyarit said the CNG price rise was unlikely to affect production costs in transportation, as most trucks are fuelled by diesel which the government continues to subsidise.
"We believe product prices will not be adjusted until January or February next year," he said.
Benjarong Suwankiri, a first vice-president of TMB Analytics, said consumer product prices were not areas of concern. What is worrisome and needs monitoring is the recovery pace of private consumption and investment, which still remains delayed, he said.
He said the government still needed to monitor people's cost of living, particularly for food and daily use consumer products.
However, next year the government should take more serious action on energy reform to make it reflect actual costs, as falling energy prices make it an ideal time for consumers to adapt to them, he said.