The price of imported and domestic goods are expected to rise in the months leading up to the Tet festival in 2010, according to retailers.

Supermarkets in Hanoi had been told by distributors that prices would rise by 2-5 percent across the board, said Vu Vinh Phu, chairman of the Hanoi Supermarket Association.

Meanwhile, supermarkets in Ho Chi Minh City have been told that prices would rise by 5-30 percent.

Sweet products will almost certainly increase in price in response to rising sugar prices, according to Citimart Supermarket’s Business Division.

So far 50 distributors have said that the price of sweetened products would rise by 5-8 percent.

Ung Thi Lien, a trader at Binh Tay Market in HCM City, said that the price of sweetened products began to rise in early December and that customers would have to pay more this Tet than last year due to the rising cost of raw materials. She also said that prices of fresh vegetables and fruit would also go up because storms in the central and central highland regions had hit supplies.

Food maker Vissan has announced that prices would rise by 2,000-3,000 VND per unit for 15 kinds of processed food from Dec. 21.

Phu said the price rises were in response to the increasing cost of gas, electricity and petrol. He said the rise in the value of the US dollar had also made importing goods and raw materials more expensive.

Many cities and provinces have introduced measures to stabilise the cost of essential goods. Hanoi , HCM City and An Giang province are offering zero-interest loans of 250 billion VND, 1.06 trillion VND and 19 billion VND, respectively, so enterprises can stock up on goods for Tet.

Supermarkets said that the rise in the cost of imported goods would give local suppliers – particularly of food, confectionery and beverages – to increase their market share.

Co-op Mart said 99 percent of the goods on its shelves were home-grown, while BigC said 90 percent of its products were Vietnamese.

Bien Hoa Sugar Company (Bibica) said it would increase the volume of confectionery products on its shelves by 20 percent to 4,500 tonnes for Tet compared with last year’s holiday.

Vu Kim Hanh, director of the Business Studies and Assistance Centre (BSA), said Vietnamese producers should implement long-term strategies if they wanted to increase their share of the domestic market./.