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AmCham hoping for more regular SRP bulletin releases

A supermarket is seen in Quezon City, March 4 2022. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) said it is counting on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to more regularly publish its updated suggested retail price (SRP) bulletins, following the latest edition issued on Feb. 8.

“We have a good working relationship with them (the DTI), so I am certain they will be more regular in issuing the SRP. Maybe not on the exact frequency but certainly more regular,” AmCham Executive Director Ebb Hinchliffe told BusinessWorld via Viber.

In January, AmCham urged the DTI to publish SRP bulletins for basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) on a regular basis, saying that it would help the business chamber’s member companies plan their operations and finances.  

“This will ultimately help businesses stay afloat and continue to provide jobs and quality products,” the group said.

Mr. Hinchliffe said that the DTI’s new SRP bulletin will likely have an impact on inflation.

“I am glad to see the DTI releasing a new bulletin. With (the) January 8.7% inflation rate, most of the (price) increases (in SRP bulletin) can be justified. However, it may fuel inflation even further,” Mr. Hinchliffe said.  

“Employees will expect high wages to offset the higher cost but higher wages without increases in production are inflationary. (It’s a) vicious cycle,” he added.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Feb. 7 that headline inflation rose to 8.7% in January against year-earlier level of 3%, on the back of higher prices of rent, electricity, water, vegetables, milk, eggs, fruit, and nuts.  

On Feb. 8, the DTI’s new SRP bulletin authorized price hikes of between 45 centavos and P7 for 76 stock keeping units (SKUs), while holding steady the recommended prices for 141 SKUs. The last SRP bulletin was issued in August.

The SKUs allowed to raise prices increases include canned sardines in tomato sauce, processed milk, coffee 3-in-1 original, noodles, bread, detergent soap, canned meat, candles, and condiments.

According to Trade Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo, price increases in the new SRP bulletin were justified by external factors such as the high cost of raw materials, packaging materials, logistics, and transportation.

“The DTI assures the public that price adjustments were carefully studied and kept to a minimum to ensure that affordable goods are still available in the market. Further, we also regularly monitor the price movements of raw materials of these BNPCs, and continuously monitor retailers to ensure that the prices of BNPCs are reasonable,” Ms. Castelo said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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