Sat, May 03, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Rising cost of household items may hurt families

ADDITIONAL PAIN:The price increases of everyday items such as milk powder will add to the burden of families with children, KMT lawmaker Alicia Wang said

By Kao Chia-ho, Chiu Yi-chun and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Consumers are to be hit by yet another wave of price increases as dealers and retailers said they intend to raise prices after an announcement by CPC Corp, Taiwan, on Thursday to increase liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices by NT$1.8 per kilogram.

CPC Corp’s announcement was its first price increase this year.

The state-owned company cited rising international LPG contract prices compared with last month for the price adjustment.

Using a 20kg container of gasoline as an example, CPC said that the price per container would increase by NT$36 (US$1.1).

Beverage chain store Teapatea, a unit of Chun Shui Tang, announced that it would raise its prices by NT$4 to NT$6, or an increase of 9 percent to 12 percent, starting this month.

CoCo, another beverage chain with 300 branches across the country, said it canceled the NT$5 discount on six of its milk tea products from the middle of last month.

Meanwhile, Chanel raised the prices of its classic clothing and bags by 15 percent, while its other products rose between 5 and 10 percent.

Chanel’s price hikes went into effect this month.

Other boutique brands, such as Montblanc, Chaumet and Rolex also saw prices rise by 5 to 10 percent.

Powdered milk brand Abbott also raised index prices for six of its infant milk powder products by between 3.5 percent and 7.7 percent, or NT$20 and NT$76.

The biggest increase affected product No. 3 of the Bright Choice series, with a jar easily surpassing NT$1,000 after the price increase.

Orient EuroPharma Co, an agent for Babecare and Hong Kong-based Karihome, announced price increases of between 10.7 percent and 13.3 percent.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) said the price increases may place additional burdens on families with young children.

Despite government promises of subsidies for families with children, more than 150,000 individuals have not been able to apply for the subsidies, she said.

Only 11 percent of dual-income families with children under the age of two have received subsidies, Wang said.

She queried whether the threshold for the subsidies was too high and called for more subsidies.

However, Chien Hui-chuan (簡慧娟), the director of the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s social and family affairs administration, said that raising subsidies for children would require an additional NT$4 billion to NT$6 billion in funding per annum.

She added that due to public financial constraints, expanding subsidies to cover greater numbers of families would require further discussion.

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