Nine more commodities cleared to adjust prices by Trade dep’t

Nine more commodities cleared to adjust prices by Trade dep’t

By Justine Irish D. Tabile, Reporter

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Wednesday that it has approved price adjustments for nine more products that are subject to its suggested retail price (SRP) scheme.

Citing to the newly released SRP bulletin, Trade Assistant Secretary for Consumer Protection Amanda F. Nograles said the second batch of price increases follows an initial group of nine stock keeping units (SKUs) approved to adjust prices on Jan. 12.

She was speaking on the sidelines of the National Price Coordinating Council on Wednesday.

“These are not yet updated on the website as we are waiting on the manufacturers’ signal that they have already implemented the increases,” Ms. Nograles said.

“The nine price increases approved on the 17th are composed of four canned sardine products, one powdered milk product and four toilet soaps,” she added.

The canned sardine adjustments were 14-15%, that of powdered was 9% or P70.75 increase, and the adjustment for the four toilet soaps was 10%.

The DTI is set to review 45 more SKUs which have pending price adjustment applications. The candidates for price hikes form the bulk of the 63 SKUs it said it will review for price increases this year.

The government had asked producers to hold off on increasing prices before the end of 2023, to minimize the impact on inflation.

Ms. Nograles said that the commodities to be reviewed are powdered milk, bread, instant noodles, bottled water, processed canned meat and canned beef, condiments, candles and batteries.

“(For the pending approvals), the largest price increase will be around P30, and the smallest price increase will be 30 centavos which is for instant noodles,” she said.

“But our condiments will also have small increases (of) 55-60 centavos, some 55 centavos,” she added.

The DTI said early this year that it is expecting price hikes to average 6% this year, against the 10% average increase in 2023.

The DTI is hoping to approve all pending price adjustment applications by March which is also when it is targeting to release the fully updated SRP bulletin.

Meanwhile, Ms. Nograles said that the department is studying a policy that will help address misinformation in cases of so-called “shrinkflation,” — the practice of reducing the size of a product while maintaining the price.

“We are currently studying whether we could come up with a policy which will require notification when there are changes in the weight of a product without changes in the price,” she said.

“We observed that there is not much difference in the packaging of products with 2 grams difference or in the size of a 155-gram canned product versus 130 grams,” she added.

“If the manufacturers are to implement this, they have to put the signage on the packaging, labeling and for retailers to put the notices on the shelves,” she said.

“We are looking at implementing this through an administrative order,” she added.

Aside from addressing shrinkflation, the DTI is also studying whether to release SRP bulletins only during calamities, with the market to be allowed to decide prices for the most part.