The prices of many key goods would stay unchanged in the months approaching the lunar new year holiday, industry insiders have claimed.

The reason behind this forecast is that people's purchasing power remains weak and essential goods traders still have large inventories, they said.

According to market research from Bien Hoa Confectionery Joint Stock Company (Bibica), growth of purchasing power in the 2014 Tet holiday would represent a relatively low growth rate of 5 percent against last year.

"Customers would be more selective in purchasing their goods," said Nguyen Quoc Hoang, Bibica deputy general director.

Local producers would be forced to focus on the quality of their goods and keep selling prices stable, he said.

Hoang said that this year, Bibica would increase confectionery output by 5-10 percent for the Tet holiday, lower than the 20 percent figure of previous years, in response to the lower purchasing power.

Vu Vinh Phu, chairman of the Hanoi Supermarket Association, said retail revenues of goods and services in the first nine months of this year rose 5 percent, a marked dip on last year's 6.5 percent surge.

The economic downturn would have a knock-on effect on consumption during the 2014 Tet holiday, Phu said. However, some popular Tet goods such as pork, chicken, vegetables and fruit would likely increase by 5-10 percent in selling price, while 30 percent of confectionery would be cheaper due to their large inventories, Phu said.

Hanoi's demand for certain foods and vegetables could surge by 20 percent in the month before Tet, the Hanoi Industry and Trade Department said.

It further predicted that total retail sales of goods and services were expected to increase by 15-18 percent to 38 trillion VND (1.8 billion USD) against other typical months.-VNA