Price changes moderate after GST increase
Anti-profiteering body urges public to report cases of unfair price hikes
Price increases in Singapore have been found to be moderate after the November 2006 announcement of the increase in Goods and Services Tax (GST) from 5 per cent to 7 per cent, says the Committee Against GST Profiteering (CAP).
In a statement today, CAP cites data from the Department of Statistics (DOS) to show that the Consumer Price Index has increased by 0.5 per cent between November 2006 and May 2007.
Paying greater attention to the food category, an important area of concern to many Singaporeans, DOS data shows that prices fell by 0.3 per cent over the first five months of this year.
Food prices make up 23 per cent of total CPI expenditure weight with non-cooked at 10 per cent of CPI and cooked food, 13 per cent.
The statement says: "Non-cooked food prices on the whole have shown a decrease of 1 per cent between January and May this year. Within this sub-group, the items that saw the greatest price increases were cooking oils (3.2 per cent), non-alcoholic beverages (2.8 per cent) and dairy products (3.2 per cent).
CAP members during their walkabouts also received feedback from businesses about the cost increases of such items as coffee and dairy products, the statement adds.
For dairy products, the increase has mainly been in the price of milk products. Prices of milk products have been rising as a result of a shortage of supplies, brought about, for example, by drought in Australia and the rapid surge in demand in Asia.
This impacted not only Singapore but other countries as well.
CAP has this advice for consuners: Shop wisely, exercise your choice and opt for lower-priced house brands.
It says supermarkets have been abosrbing cost increases as much as they can.
Not all non-cooked items have seen price increases, it points out.
Items such as vegetables and vegetable products (-8.7 per cent) and sugar (-11.9 per cent) have seen price falls.
Similarly, seafood prices fell by 2.7 per cent between January and May 2007. Seafood generally peaked during the Chinese New Year and fell subsequently.
As for the cooked food sub-group, which includes restaurants, fastfood outlets, hawker centres and catered food operators, the CAP statement says prices have increased marginally (0.3 per cent) between Jan and May 2007.
CAP says it is heartened that two major restaurant associations have called on their members to maintain prices after the GST increase from July 1.
Hawker food prices have also remained stable. Between June 11 and 22 this year, a DOS survey of nearly 1,300 stalls from 39 hawker centres and coffee shops across Singapore found that only 0.6 per cent of stalls increased prices.
Describing this as encouraging, CAP says it believes competition will continue to keep prices stable.
DOS will continue to monitor hawker prices over the next few months.
CAP has this message for merchants: Do not profiteer on the pretext of the GST increase.
It adds that its committee will evaluate and investigate every complaint on profiteering it receives.
The public can provide feedback to CAP via its website www.cap.org.sg or email email@example.com
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