Wed, May 02, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Task force finds no retail price hikes

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Amid fears that the prices of consumer goods might rise ahead of an anticipated increase in electricity rates, the Taipei City Government yesterday released the results of its latest round of inspections into retail prices and said it found no price increases in major consumer goods.

The inspection, conducted by a task force under the city government to deal with potential retail price hikes, found that of the 16 major consumer goods surveyed, only the price of toilet paper, milk powder and instant noodles had increased in the past month, rising by 6.9 percent, 2.5 percent and 1.7 percent respectively from April 2 to April 26.

The task force also monitored the prices of vegetables, fruit, meat and fish in traditional markets and found that vegetable prices dropped about 14 percent during the same period.

Local vendors at 12 major night markets, including Shilin Night Market and Ningxia Night Market, did not raise the prices of their street foods, it said.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said that the city’s inspections should help address public concerns about soaring retail prices.

However, the timing of the city’s inspection raised concerns, as it monitored retail-price changes throughout last month, while the price of some consumer goods had increased in March or earlier, before the government allowed a fuel price increase of about NT$3 per liter on April 2.

Taipei Deputy Mayor Chen Hsiung-wen (陳雄文), head of the task force that was formed on April 16, acknowledged the limitations of the data it surveyed.

“It would be ideal if we could have tracked retail prices last year, or at least before the fuel price adjustment, to better reflect changes in prices,” he said.

“However, the task force was only formed last month and has had some difficulties during the inspection process, as many businesses refused to provide prices for their products last year,” he said.

He also acknowledged that when the electricity-rate hike takes effect later this month, prices of many food items and consumer goods could increase.

Hau said the city government would continue to monitor prices to prevent any unreasonable price increases.

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