Food prices expected to fall in 2014

THAILAND - Most consumer goods and foods will be cheaper next year following a drop in the prices of crops and raw materials in the world market, according to the Internal Trade Department.

Director-general Somchart Soithong said last week that although the government's freeze on prices of commodities would end this year, it was not a great concern, as prices of raw materials have continued to decline till now.

According to the department's survey, prices of ingredients such as palm oil, fruits and vegetables, and meat have fallen because supply is plentiful, he said.

The prices of steel, tin plate, chromium, copper and petrochemicals have also eased in the global market, so many products made from those materials should see lower prices in the near future.

A shampoo producer will lower its retail price soon, while a soybean sauce producer has asked for a price increase. However, the department has asked for the company's cooperation to hold off for a while.

The department is studying the cost structure for soy sauce to decide whether to allow a price hike next year.

Also, to ensure that price changes will be based on fair practice, the department is rechecking and studying the cost structure for 205 foods and consumer goods.

With many factors changing, the department needs to update its information on the costs of raw materials and manufacturing so that it could calculate fair and reasonable profits for producers.

Currently 205 goods including foods, essential products, electric appliances and farm equipment are under scrutiny.

Some of the 43 products on the price control list might be changed, as some products have become necessities for daily living.

To curb the cost of living, the department also plans to increase the number of street food vendors from the current 6,000 that are cooperating with the Commerce Ministry's Blue flag project to sell cheap dishes for consumers, he added.