By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

THE prices of commodities are expected to increase in the coming months amid the challenges faced by manufacturers, according to the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association, Inc. (Pagasa).

Pagasa President Steven T. Cua said in a mobile phone interview with BusinessWorld that prices are seen to go higher due to global and local events.

“Given the circumstances such as the Ukraine-Russia conflict, continuous lack of supply of imported raw materials, fuel, and grains, increasing peso-dollar exchange rate, slight surges in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) count both here in the Philippines and abroad, expected disarray or birth pains in a new administration, I would expect prices to be on the upside in the coming months,” Mr. Cua said.

He made the projection after the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently said that the prices of basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) included in its suggested retail price (SRP) list are expected to be stable in the next two to three months.

“At least for those that are in our SRP list, we can assure the consumers that we see that these will be stable at least probably the next two, three months,” Trade Assistant Secretary Ann Claire C. Cabochan said during a June 16 television interview in The Chiefs on One News Channel.

According to Mr. Cua, the industry group does not share the same view with the DTI in terms of expected price increases.

“Pagasa does not totally agree with the DTI’s prognosis of stable prices for the next few months. By the middle of June, more than 30 manufacturers have increased prices on some of their commodities. This ‘parade/march’ of increases by suppliers has been ongoing since last year,” Mr. Cua said.

“The good thing is, not all suppliers chose to increase all their products at the same time and some did it on a staggered basis,” he added.

The DTI said earlier that it had received price increase requests from manufacturers of products such as bread and canned sardines due to rising production costs of wheat, fish, tin, and logistics. It added that it was studying the requests, which usually take four to six weeks to process.

In the latest SRP list issued on May 11, the DTI approved the price increases of 82 BNPCs while keeping unchanged the prices of 136 others.

The price increases vary from 2% to 10% for products such as bread, canned fish, potable water in bottles and containers, processed milk, locally manufactured instant noodles, coffee, salt, laundry soap, detergent, candles, flour, processed and canned pork, processed and canned beef, vinegar, fish sauce (patis), soy sauce, toilet soap, and batteries.