CANNED meat manufacturers are asking the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to approve their petition for a price increase of by much as 5 percent on higher cost of raw materials.
In an interview with reporters on Monday, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez disclosed the DTI is reviewing the appeal filed by canned meat manufacturers to raise prices of their products by as much as 5 percent. Apart from producers of canned meat, sardines makers are asking for a price hike, too, on reported increase in the cost of tamban.
“There are requests [for a price increase] in canned meat, in sardines, because of their cost of production. There are also some in noodles, but some brands [only and] not all brands. These petitions are being reviewed by our group,” Lopez said.
Lopez admitted he is inclined to approve the petitions as long as the manufacturers can show the uptick in their production cost. Either way, he said he will only authorize minimal increases ranging between 2 percent and 5 percent to a maximum of 10 percent.
“The price of fish really increased so we will see by how much [we will hike prices of sardines]. These are very minimal increases. This is just the usual 2-percent to 5-percent increase, [and] we won’t approve more than 10 percent,” the trade chief explained.
Asked if the petition to raise canned meat prices is caused by the African swine fever (ASF) troubling the local hog industry, Lopez said the appeal was made long before the animal disease hit the Philippines. It just so happened the DTI is reviewing the petition recently, he added.
Lopez said manufacturers are seeking to increase retail prices to cope with higher cost of raw materials, particularly inputs and tin cans.
Further, Lopez warned there could be another round of petitions if fuel prices shoot through the roof as a result of the drone attacks in Saudi Arabian oil facilities. However, similar to estimates by his fellow economic officials, Lopez said this crisis in the Middle East should only jack up fuel prices in the Philippines by 8 percent to 9 percent.
Oil firms Pilipinas Shell and PetroGazz last Sunday announced they are set to implement price hikes of P2.35 per liter in gasoline, P1.80 in diesel and P1.75 in kerosene—the biggest so far in the year—in reflection of movements in the global market.
On the other hand, Lopez disclosed the DTI is trimming the number of products covered under the suggested retail price list. He said he wants to return the SRP list to its regular rundown of just around 140 goods to make it easier for the agency to monitor their retail prices.
“I told the group not to issue a new SRP list for the meantime because we are also trimming down the SRP. We are bringing it back to its normal list of, I think, 140 plus [products, and] we are now 250. We enhanced it last year because of the inflation issue,” Lopez added.
The DTI was compelled to expand the coverage of the SRP list to manage the prices of basic goods at a time inflation was spiking to record high numbers. Inflation hit a record high rate of 6.7 percent in September and October of last year in large due to tax hikes and rice supply shortage.