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Thai parents brace for higher uniform costs

Publication Date : 23-03-2012


Parents will face higher expenses for student uniforms, one of the 41 products on the government's price-control list. The retail price of uniforms will soon rise in line with the coming hike in the minimum wage to 300 baht (US$9.75) per day.

A survey by The Nation found that uniforms are currently quoted at 300-500 baht per set. However, the price is expected to rise by 5-10 per cent after the new wage minimum comes into effect early next month.

The government-mandated wage increase is scheduled to take effect on April 1 in seven provinces.

Wongchan, a parent of a pupil at Bangkok's Prathomuksa Thamma-sat School, said she would need to earn more income or even go to the pawnshop in preparation for the new school term.

"I will freeze some spending for my children as one child will need to change uniforms. I will need at least Bt1,500 for new uniforms, while another child must wear the old uniform as the prices are expected to increase," she said.

A study by the Internal Trade Department of the Commerce Ministry showed that student uniforms, paper pulp, and plywood would be heavily affected by the higher minimum wage.

Other products will be slightly affected as wages account for only 1-5 per cent of production costs, the study suggests.

Vatchari Vimooktayon, director-general of the department, said the wage increase would have only a small impact on goods prices, while consumers will have more purchasing power as they have higher incomes.

She said she hoped enterprises would increase management efficiency rather than directly push the cost burden on to consumers.

The department's study also found that higher fuel prices would push up goods prices by only 0.05 per cent, as fuel accounts for 0-5 per cent of production costs. Construc-tion materials will be hit hardest, as fuel accounts for 5 per cent of their production cost.

An expected rise in the price of natural gas for vehicles by 12 per cent and of diesel by 8 per cent will increase the cost of transport by 0.44 per cent.

Meanwhile, the department has failed to prevent a drop in the price of eggs, since major producers including Betagro have said they must sell at low prices because of excessive production currently.

Egg farmers have previously called for the department to deal with the price drop, blaming giant egg producers for dumping on the market and cutting retail prices below production costs.

The retail price is currently 2.40 baht per egg, down from 2.60-2.70 baht last month.


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