PRICES are steady for groceries associated with the traditional Christmas feast, known in the Philippines as ”noche buena,” the supermarket industry said on Monday.
Steven T. Cua, Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association president, said in an interview on One News Channel’s BusinessWorld Live program that it is “too early” for noche buena goods prices to rise.
“No prices increases yet. It is still a bit too early. The advice of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is to go out and buy if you can, if you have the money — that may be a good idea this year in particular because we do not know what’s going to happen,” Mr. Cua said.
“If consumers go out and buy now and manufacturers see that there is demand, maybe they will be reluctant to increase prices,” he added.
The DTI has advised consumers to start stocking up on ingredients for the Christmas feast to take advance of these products’ long shelf lives. It also urged manufacturers of noche buena products to cap their price hikes to 10%.
Separately, Mr. Cua said the price of the most popular brand of imported US luncheon meat has risen 15% in the last two weeks due to the weaker peso.
“Businesses will take advantage of the fact that there are increases in the prices of imported goods,” Mr. Cua said, noting that domestic brands can offer alternatives that are still priced competitively.
“Everyone’s going to be more creative in stretching their pesos… We can still have a Merry Christmas. Just keep it simpler and be more creative. There will be some good buys in the market for sure,” he added.
The Bankers Association of the Philippines said the peso closed at P59 against the dollar on Monday, against its P58.625 finish on Friday. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave