Commerce Ministry monitors 18 categories as transport costs surge

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The Commerce Ministry launched a comprehensive monitoring initiative for prices across 18 categories as transport costs for the logistics sector surged by up to 9%.

The Director-General of the Internal Trade Department, Wattanasak Sur-Liam, stated that the categories under scrutiny include instant noodles, fresh food, canned food, bagged rice, seasoning sauce, vegetable oil, carbonated drinks, milk and dairy products, electrical appliances, laundry products, fertilisers, insecticides, pet food, iron, cement, paper, medicine and medical services, and retail and wholesale services.

Oil costs, which form 40% of logistics expenses, affect product prices variably based on the weight and quantity of the items involved.

The ministry has appealed to business operators to maintain stable product prices in accordance with its policies, said Wattanasak.

“Most operators are choosing to stimulate consumption rather than hike prices, as they believe price increases would negatively impact sales.”

The impending expiry of subsidies for liquefied petroleum gas (cooking gas) this month has prompted the department to closely watch the prices of made-to-order food and fast food. Despite the potential end of these subsidies, the cost per plate is expected to remain unaffected due to recent decreases in the prices of pork, eggs, and fresh vegetables, and a stable price for chicken compared to last year.

Fresh vegetable prices, including limes and coriander, have been on a consistent decline following the onset of the rainy season last month.

In related news, Digital wallet funds are to exclude mobile phones, Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat urged the Commerce Ministry to reconsider its decision to permit recipients of the 10,000-baht payout from the digital wallet scheme to use the funds on mobile phones.

He argued that this move would not benefit the domestic economy, as intended. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin shares these concerns, noting that most mobile phones are either manufactured overseas or contain foreign-made components.

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