More brands hold off price hike

    Monitoring. The DTI says prices of Noche Buena products will stay at 2019 levels but the effect of typhoons may disrupt supply of other food products. (Photo by RHOY COBILLA)

    More brands join moves not to increase prices of Noche Buena products as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) releases today the new suggested retail prices (SRP) of basic and prime commodities ahead of Christmas shopping.

    DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, however, warned disruptions caused by extreme weather conditions pose risks, particularly to food price stability and food security.

    At the Laging Handa public briefing yesterday, Lopez also announced the government is on track to release this week the SRP of RT-PCR tests following a series of consultations.

    According to Lopez, prices of Noche Buena products are likely to stay at 2019 levels with some brands which earlier raised their prices eyeing a rollback.

    Lopez said ham manufacturers are not increasing their prices despite higher production cost. Aside from San Miguel Purefoods, CDO, Century and Virginia Foods which earlier committed not to increase prices, the other brands that are following suit are Universal Robina Corp., Dole, RFM, Amigo, Ideal, Mondelez, New Zealand, King Sue Nutriasia, Unilever, Nestle, Snow Mountain and Alaska.

    These cover ham, fruit cocktail, cheese, sandwich spread, mayonnaise and queso de bola.

    In a statement, Lopez noted supply issues on fish and pork products, continued pressure in production costs led to the slight increase in inflation in October to 2.5 percent.

    “We will continue to monitor prices of basic goods to ensure that there would be no additional burden to (consumers). We will continue working with the Department of Agriculture (DA) to ensure that both our consumers and producers are looked after,” he said.

    Price freeze remains in effect in areas declared under a state of calamity after they were devastated by Typhoon Quinta during the last week of October. These include Albay, Batangas, Oriental Mindoro, and Cavite. Price freeze is also automatically implemented in provinces that declared a state of calamity after being hit by Super Typhoon Rolly.