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Thailand govt & noodle makers caught in a tangle

Thailand's government enforces price controls on some essential items in an effort to ease consumer pressure.

As instant noodles are one of the most popular supermarket goods in the country, five major producers have requested the Thai government to enable them to increase their prices within a week.

Due to the Ukraine conflict, recent droughts and floods, and rising energy and transportation expenses, noodle prices have increased throughout Asia.

Thailand’s government enforces price controls on some essential items in an effort to ease consumer pressure. Thailand’s inflation rate, which reached 7.61% in July after hitting a 14-year high the previous month, is down marginally from that level.

Prices are capped for products including construction supplies, eggs, cooking oil, and instant noodles, which are popular for being affordable meals.

However, the makers of Mama, Wai Wai, Yum Yum, Nissin, and Suesat instant noodles have issued a warning that the present price cap on their goods is unsustainable.

Companies requested a price increase from 6 baht (£0.14) to 8 baht (£0.19) in a joint letter that was delivered to the government this week. Since 2008, there hasn’t been a retail price hike for instant noodles.

The manufacturer of Wai Wai, Thai Food Goods Factory, asserted that some of its products were being sold at a loss and that, without price hikes, it would discontinue its sales in Thailand in favour of foreign markets.

Manufacturers claim that as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, their cost of production has increased significantly, driving up the price of oil and wheat flour.

Recently, Thailand Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit told Thai media that he feels that the rise to 8 baht is too high and would be a huge burden on the consumers. But still, the Thailand government is considering their proposal.

Jurin Laksanawisit claimed that the decision would be made by the Department of Internal Trade Department.

“I think they are considering all the costs now. If they really need to change the price, it must follow the real production cost. If the production costs subsequently fall, so too should retail prices,” Jurin Laksanawisit said.

While predictions indicate that the price of wheat could increase by 30% this year in China, noodle costs have already increased in other parts of Asia, including South Korea and Japan.

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