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DTI to tighten watch on food prices as Christmas draws near

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THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it will monitor prices of commodities, particularly of food items such as those for Noche Buena, as Christmas nears.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said on the sidelines of the National Price Coordinating Council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 21, that the commodity prices could have gone higher due to foreign exchange movements, increases in oil prices and minimum wage but competition in the market kept the prices stable.

“There’s enough supply. There are no aberrations but that should be monitored – actually the supply chain that we will assure that there will be more brands and there will be competition. We don’t mind the premium brands actually increasing prices because that is not for the masses,” he added.

In a document handed out on Tuesday, the DTI said it is currently monitoring Noche Buena products such as ham, fruit cocktail, cheese, sandwich spread, mayonnaise, queso de bola, pasta, macaroni, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, and creamers.

According to DTI these seven companies declared they will not raise prices of their products: New Zealand Creamery Inc., Philippine Leading Infinite Logistics Inc., RFM Corporation, SYSU International Inc., Century Pacific Group, Nutri Asia, Inc. Snow Mountain Dairy Corporation.

Steve T. Cua, president of the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association, said with more supermarkets being built, giving people more venues to shop, it may be harder to track if the prices would go up at all.




Mr. Cua added that supermarkets should allot more time to prepare their inventories to keep up with the demand especially those that are “the top of mind” or more popular brands. Mr. Cua also clarified that the latest data released only shows the potential increase of certain brands but that does not necessarily mean there will be an increase in prices of products in general.

DTI also reported that cement prices went down by P10, which Mr. Lopez said is good news for the government’s Build, Build, Build program.

“The NPCC will be declaring by Monday the price ceiling for specific construction material products, brands, prices in specific towns in and around Marawi. To prevent undue increases in prices during the rehabilitation stage,” he added.

Mr. Lopez said that they will also have depots in the areas to ensure availability of construction materials coming directly from manufacturers. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato

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