LOCAL manufacturers are now more open to implementing cuts in the suggested retail prices (SRPs) of primary goods and commodities even if fuel prices are starting to recover.
Undersecretary Victorio Mario Dimagiba of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Consumer Protection Group (DTI-CPG) told The Manila Times that manufacturers of basic goods are now more amenable to reducing their prices even as crude oil prices recover in the international market after hitting all-time lows last month.
This should come as a relief to consumers after local manufacturers refused to adopt the DTI’s proposed price cuts since the start of the year amid record low oil prices. The manufacturers said at the time that they could not cut their prices because raw material and trucking costs were still high.
“Yes, manufacturers are cool to reducing SRPs. Monitoring of SRPs at retail stores show prices are generally within or lower than the SRPs,” Dimagiba said in a text message over the weekend.
The DTI undersecretary noted that since crude oil prices have begun to recover after hitting a low of $30-$35 per barrel last month, prices of locally manufactured basic goods have gone down by “P0.25 to P0.30 week on week per basic good.”
Dimagiba said this trend should be more evident in the bread-making segment, with bread prices seen to roll back by P0.50 after the Holy Week.
The DTI is continuously coordinating with local manufacturers to bring down SRPs.
Earlier in the year, the DTI proposed reductions in the SRPs of goods amid lower oil prices, since cheaper oil decreases trucking costs which account for 20 percent to 50 percent of the wholesale prices of goods.
But the manufacturers argued that trucking costs remained high due to heavy traffic, high shipping rates, foreign exchange fluctuation, and the drought in Australia and New Zealand that has affected prices and supply of meat.
Manufacturers that are in continuous dialogue with the DTI on SRPs include producers of meat, sardines, dairy products and firms that manufacture branded products.