Thailand: Ministry extends price controls on five products

The Commerce Ministry has extended price controls on five products comprising hygienic face masks, synthetic fibres for face mask production, alcohol gel, paper for recycling, and chicken for another year.

A meeting of the Central Committee on the Prices of Goods and Services, chaired by Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, on Wednesday agreed to place a total of 56 items on the price control list, 51 of which are products, including the five products accorded an extension. The five other items on the list are services. The list would later be put forward for cabinet approval.

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

The foods listed include garlic, rice paddy, milled rice, corn, eggs, cassava, wheat flour, powdered/fresh milk, sugar, vegetable/animal oil and pork. The services listed are the right to distribute copyrighted music for commercial purposes, trading services and/or shipping services for online businesses, agricultural services, medical services and other services of a healthcare facility, and payment services at the point of service.

Wattanasak Sur-iam, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said with existing pressure from the high cost of living due to rising oil prices brought about by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, the high cost of importing raw materials costs and the baht’s volatility, the Commerce Ministry would still seek cooperation from manufacturers to help maintain the prices of consumer goods for as long as possible to ensure a minimal impact on consumers.

Through the Internal Trade Department, the ministry has also vowed to keep a close eye on the impact of the baht’s movements, he said.

According to Mr Watanasak, there are now requests among manufacturers of washing products such as detergent, to raise the prices of their products. The manufacturers justify their request by pointing out that raw materials used in the manufacture of detergent have to be imported. However, the department has yet to approve their request, he said.

Mr Watanasak said the department has also yet to approve a price increase for animal feed ingredients, adding that the government had previously relaxed regulations pertaining to imported raw materials in order to help entrepreneurs to lower their production costs.

Meanwhile, Mr Watanasak said his department asked hygienic face mask manufacturers and distributors to raise their production to cope with higher demand and prevent any possible shortages as the country prepares to welcome more Chinese tourists following China’s reopening on Jan 8.