27/10/2007 (Bangkok Post) - The Commerce Ministry is considering approving higher retail prices for cooking palm oil, acknowledging the impact of soaring demand for biofuels on raw material prices.
Palm nut prices currently exceed five baht a kilogramme, compared with two baht last year, while crude palm oil is nearly 30 baht a kilogramme, up from 12-13 baht a year ago. The ceiling on cooking oil retail prices, currently 38 baht per litre, will be increased soon to reflect the higher costs, according to Yanyong Phuangrach, the director-general of the ministry's Internal Trade Department.
The department yesterday also approved pig price increases by three baht to 44.90 baht a kilogramme. It also agreed to swine raisers' requests that retail pork prices should be a maximum of 90 baht per kilogramme.
Local pig raisers complained that costs have been soaring due to expensive animal feed prices. Maize has risen to 7.80 baht a kilogramme from six baht last year; soybeans are 18.70 baht, up from 13 baht a kilogramme; and tapioca pellet prices have risen to 6.50 baht from four baht a kilogramme.
However, Mr Yanyong said most food, beverage and consumer product prices would not be changed at least through the end of this year, as agreed by manufacturers at a meeting yesterday.
Pun Paniangvait, manager of Thai President Foods, said his company would shoulder higher costs but would reconsider in December whether to lift Mama prices to six baht from five baht a package.