Businesses in HCM City have spent 6.7 trillion VND (320 million USD) on goods to prepare for the three months before and after the Tet holiday (Lunar New Year), an increase of nearly 1.3 trillion VND (61.9 million USD) compared to the same period last year.

This figure includes 3.4 trillion VND (164 million USD) of essential goods under the price-stabilisation programme, up by 605.7 billion VND compared to the amount spent during the previous holiday period, according to the city's Department of Industry and Trade.

The department released the figures at a meeting last week to review preparations for the upcoming Tet holiday, the most important festival for Vietnamese which will fall in early February next year.

The department forecasts an abundant supply of goods during Tet, with stable prices on most goods. Price fluctuations will continue on fruit and vegetables, which have been affected by inclement weather.

Le Ngoc Dao, deputy director of the Industry and Trade Department, said Saigon Co-op had goods valued at 3.35 trillion VND (159.5 million USD) in reserve, with essential goods under the price-stabilisation programme representing 912.3 billion VND (43.4 million USD).

Vissan has goods in reserve worth 1 trillion VND; Pham Ton Co, 814.5 billion VND ; Sai Gon Food JSC, 231 billion VND; and Ba Huan Co, 165.2 billion VND.

Dao said despite the difficulties caused by the global economic crisis, these businesses had pledged to supply goods at stable prices and prevent price hikes during Tet.

The volume of goods to be supplied by these businesses, especially essential goods such as cooking oil, sugar, poultry meat, eggs and processing food, are expected to meet over 50 percent of customer demand.

In addition, the department has met with representatives of beverage, confectionary, cooking-oil manufacturers and poultry husbandry farms from neighbouring provinces to assess future supply.

Nguyen Thi Hong, deputy chairwoman of the city's People's Committee, said a distribution network has been set up in the city, including supermarkets, shops, traditional markets, mobile shops, and fairs in rural areas.

The quality of the distribution network's service must be improved to better connect customers with suppliers, Hong said.

She said the prices of goods would increase greatly if there were too many intermediaries in the distribution network.-VNA