The Department of Internal Commerce rejected local media reports that instant noodle makers would have to raise prices in line with rising production costs.
Wattanasak Sur-iam, the department’s general manager, said he has regular discussions with instant noodle makers, and they insisted they had only raised wholesale prices for their products or reduced trade discounts. offered at retail stores, not retail prices.
According to Mr Wattanasak, the manufacturers said they were keeping their promises to cooperate with the Ministry of Commerce to help cap prices on their products to ease consumer hardship.
Regarding reports that producers of fresh milk and condensed milk are planning to raise prices in March or April due to a sharp increase in production costs, particularly tinplate, he said the department should examine their production cost structures to see if their costs had really increased, as well as the rate at which their costs increased.
Mr Wattanasak said any manufacturer wishing to raise their selling prices due to higher production costs was required to submit their request to the department and agreed that it would consider them on a case-by-case basis.
He also insisted the ministry has not yet allowed manufacturers to raise prices, saying consumers would be hit hardest if prices were allowed to rise.
In a related development, Wattanasak said the department has also been closely monitoring the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war on fertilizers and has yet to approve the increase in national fertilizer prices.
The Thai Fertilizer and Agricultural Supplies Association yesterday submitted a letter to the Minister of Commerce, asking him to review the pricing policy and allow contractors to raise fertilizer prices in line with higher production costs. .
Current domestic fertilizer prices have increased by more than 100% compared to the same period last year, due to rising production costs.
The price of muriate of potash rose to US$625 per tonne from $550 per tonne in the same period last year; the cost of diammonium phosphate rose to $877 per ton, from $600 per ton previously; and the price of ammonium sulphate rose to $390 per ton from $220 per ton year-over-year.
Plengsakdi Prakaspesat, chairman of the Thai Fertilizer and Agricultural Supplies Association, said on Monday that local fertilizer traders and producers have faced rising production costs since late last year, but no ‘have been unable to raise their prices accordingly because the government has fixed domestic fertilizer prices and sought the cooperation of growers and traders to maintain their selling prices to lessen the impact on farmers.
The domestic fertilizer market has reached a crisis point after Russia, the world’s largest fertilizer exporter, last week recommended that its fertilizer producers temporarily suspend exports. This is a sign that the sanctions imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine could have a global impact, according to Mr Plengsakdi.
Russia is a major producer of fertilizers containing potash, phosphate and nitrogen, which are the main nutrients for crops and soils. It produces more than 50 million tons of fertilizer per year, or about 25% of world production.
Thailand imported 500,000 tons of fertilizer from Russia last year, using a port in Ukraine.
Every year, Thailand imports a total of 5 million tons of fertilizer, mainly from the Middle East, Belarus, Russia, Canada, China and Europe.