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Food prices still high despite petrol price cuts

From its peak, petrol prices have fallen by 20.7-25.6 percent to the level of five months ago. However, food and foodstuff prices have not dropped.

When the petrol price increased sharply a month ago, the prices of goods and services rose proportionally. Manufacturers and distributors raised the selling prices of food items. 

Petrol prices decreased in the last three petrol price reviews. The E5 petrol price dropped to VND25.070 per liter, RON95 to VND26,070 and diesel VND24,850 per liter. As such, petroleum prices have decreased by 20.7-25.6 percent.

However, contrary to people’s expectations, most product prices are still high.

Doan Thi Hai in Thanh Xuan district in Hanoi complained that goods prices increased because of the petrol price hike, but have not fallen after the petrol price reduction.

“The gasoline price has dropped by VND7,000 per liter, but retailers have not reduced selling prices. They told me that they have to sell products at high prices because distributors have not adjusted the wholesale prices,” Hai said.

Nguyen Van Viet, a wholesaler of fruits in Can Tho, said from mid-April to mid-June, when petrol prices climbed to historic peaks, farm produce transport costs from Can Tho to Hanoi surged by 50 percent. The cost for one kilogram of fruit was VND3,500. 

Though petrol prices fell over the last three consecutive reviews, transport firms still maintained their fees.

“Wholesalers like us have to accept high transport costs as we don’t have any other choice. The cost will be counted when setting selling prices. It is consumers who suffer from the high prices,” Viet said.

Ngo Hoai Thuong, the owner of a pho shop in Hoang Mai district in Hanoi, said that it was easy to raise selling prices, but difficult to lower prices. 

When petrol prices rose one month ago, she raised selling prices by VND5,000-15,000 per bowl because of higher material prices. But she cannot lower the prices now because the price of input materials remains unchanged.

A representative of WinCommerce, which owns WinMart/WinMart+, said when  petroleum prices escalated, the retail chain applied measures to curb price increases, including negotiating with suppliers.

Nguyen Thi Bich Van from Central Retail said the supermarket chain is negotiating with suppliers on price adjustments. For the time being, it is running a sale promotion program at GO! and Big C for buyers of fresh meat, fish, vegetables and fruits.

Tam An

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