Sai Gon Co.op is running promotions on essential goods to stimulate purchases.
(Photo: Saigondautu)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) – Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Industry and Trade has pledged to help businesses stabilise market prices following hikes in gasoline and electricity prices. 

The price of consumer goods in the city in April rose slightly compared to the previous month, with food prices rising by 0.1 percent and rice products increasing by 0.6 percent compared to the previous month. 

The month saw a drop in consumption of major commodity products such as pork (fall of 3.36 percent); fresh poultry (0.66 percent); fresh seafood (1.79 percent); vegetables (1.91 percent); and fruits of all kinds (0.06 percent) over the previous month.

However, consumption of other commodity products rose, including beef (by 0.17 percent); confectionary (0.35 percent); and cocoa, coffee and tea (0.52 percent) over the previous month, according to the department. 

Food prices have remained stable due to the plentiful supply of fresh food and vegetables since the beginning of the year, partly because of the city’s price stabilisation programme. 

The gasoline price went up twice in April, which affected transport fees, including trains (up by 2.67 percent) and passenger coaches (by 0.56 percent), according to the department. 

Nguyen Anh Duc, permanent deputy general director of Saigon Co.op, said the company has been working with suppliers to ensure price stability after the electricity and gasoline price increases. 

Sai Gon Co.op, Co.opmart, Co.opXtra, Co.opfood are running promotions on essential goods to stimulate purchases. Saigon Co.op is also asking suppliers not to increase prices unless it is necessary.

“The suppliers must prove that increases in input costs directly affect the cost of producing the products,” Duc said.

Other retailers in the city said the increase in the price of products and services must be based on the market's purchasing power. 

With the current weak purchasing power, distributors and suppliers must work together to support market price stability.

At traditional markets, despite recent hikes in petrol and power prices, the prices of some essential goods such as fresh food and frozen processed food rose only slightly.

A resident in District 9 said that in the past few weeks, the prices of some vegetables and fruits had increased slightly. 

Sellers at traditional markets said they had no choice but to increase the price of products to compensate for losses caused by higher gasoline and power prices. 

The industrial production index for the food processing as well as food and beverage industries increased by 1.4 percent in the first four months of the year. 

In April, petrol retail prices rose twice for a total of 3,000 VND per litre. In addition, the 8.36 percent hike in electricity price that began on March 20 will affect the commodity market.

The Government has asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to work with the General Statistics Office to review the impact of the power price hike.

In 2002, the city began its price stabilisation programme for essential food and foodstuff during festival seasons such as Tet (Lunar New Year) when demand rises dramatically. 

Beginning in 2010, the programme was implemented throughout the year and was expanded to stabilise the prices of four commodity groups: food and foodstuffs, dairy products, essential drugs and school supplies.

HCM City is only able to meet 20-30 percent of demand of daily food consumption, with the rest transported from other provinces as well as imported from other countries.

Retail sales of consumer goods and services in HCM City in April totalled 94.91 trillion VND (4.07 billion USD), up 2.3 percent over March and 14.4 percent over the same period last year, according to the department. 

The city’s services and trade activities increased in April due to the national holidays Hung Kings Commemoration Day, Reunification Day and May Day.-VNS/VNA