GOODS PRICES are expected to remain stable during the year-end holidays as consumer demand remains weak, the Trade department said.

Matumal ang demand sa pangkalahatan so hindi ho natin inaasahang malaki ang presyong tumaas (Demand is broadly weak so no drastic price increases are expected),” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in a radio interview Thursday.

The Department of Trade and Industry monitors the prices of commodities, including food items for the traditional Christmas meal, known as Noche Buena.

Mr. Lopez said that there will still be suggested retail prices for Christmas products.

“Of course, sana na nga lang ay hindi naman sumobrang bagal ‘yung demand. Itong kailangan din ng negosyo ngayon na sana naman ‘yung mga kababayan natin mamili pa rin ng mamili (We are hoping that demand doesn’t completely dry up, because businesses need consumers to spend),” he said.

Consumption accounts for 70% of the economy. A recent decline in cash remittances caused by the pandemic will translate to lower consumer spending, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said last month.

According to Nielsen, Philippine consumption of fast-moving consumer goods has shifted to suit a home-based lifestyle, with many buyers seeking out sales promotions available due to reduced incomes. — Jenina P. Ibañez