Commerce to closely monitor prices of goods 

The Commerce Ministry says it will keep close monitoring of prices of goods in the market and will punish traders if they are found to increase prices unreasonably.

Warning against profiteers came after the National Wage Committee approved an increase of 5 to 22 baht daily minimum wage for workers across the country on Jan 17. The new wage will be effective on April 1.

The close price monitoring also came as the ministry’s analysis of impact on cost production by the wage increased showed only minimal impacts.

The new minimum wage are applied at all provinces, but they are varied with different locations, with average of 3.4% increase, or from 305.44 baht to 315.90 baht.

According to the ministry’s analysis, the increased wage would impact production cost for only 0.05% on average.

Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said the increased minimum wage’s impact on production cost was slight and this sound not be used by manufacturers as an excuse to raise prices.

For better understanding, he would have a meeting with manufacturers next week to listen to their views, and seek their cooperation in retaining same prices.

In addition to impact on prices of goods, the ministry also looked into labour cost from the wage increase.

The minister said its study showed labour cost for the manufacturing and services will rise just 10 billion baht a year or 0.07% of GDP.

He said businesses most affected by the wage increase will be in the labour intensive service sector, namely construction; wholesale and retail business; maintenance of automobiles; hotel and food.

Industrial sector to be affected most are food and beverages, leather tanning and finishing, office machines, and iron and steel basic industry.

For the impact on exports, Mr Sontirat said the wage increase would have added 0.022% increase in cost or just 167 million baht a year with most affected being printing, leather, clothes, metal products and furnitures.