Thai cement producers the Commerce Ministry for permission to raise prices yesterday. But the ministry responded by noting that product prices could be adjusted only after it thoroughly screens their operating costs and concludes that higher fuel prices truly have raised their expenses.
The ministry met with 120 local manufactures that source raw materials mainly in the domestic market. They are active in 27 product categories covering fresh food, food and beverages, daily consumer goods, paper products, electric appliances, transportation products, construction materials, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals and agricultural goods.
"We asked them to hold their prices for three months. This is to avoid any panic among consumers, which would lead to shrinking demand," said Suvit Maesincee, vice commerce minister.
"However, manufacturers of certain products, which face significant cost increases, can negotiate with the ministry and submit their real product costs over the past two years for a possible price increase," he said.
A source from a cement manufacturer said his company was hurting from big increases in the cost of energy, including electricity. "We are willing to support the Commerce Ministry by retaining our prices, but the company will meet the ministry on Friday to discuss the cost problem in detail," the source said, adding that if the diesel price is fully floated more problems would surface.
A source from a construction material manufacturer said the company’s profit margin has been pinched by intense competition. "We set up a factory price that allows us to survive. But construction materials have been marked up by retailers, particularly those in the modern trades, by 20-30 per cent," the source said.