Firms agree to freeze goods prices

Thirteen companies making 205 food and consumer products have agreed to freeze the prices of their goods until the end of November in line with the junta's policy to ease consumers' burden.

The move will also help stimulate the economy, stabilise markets and bolster confidence, Commerce Ministry permanent secretary Srirat Rastapana said on Friday after meeting with company executives.

Similar agreements to cap prices have been common under civilian governments for years. In many cases they were little more than publicity gestures orchestrated by the ministry to make it appear the government was doing something about inflation.

Inflation in May reached 2.6% year-on-year, a 14-month high, driven in large part by fuel prices. Businesses often cite fuel and transport costs as the reason for price increases, though for most consumer goods such expenses account for less than 10% of total production costs.

The companies taking part in Friday's meeing included Thai President Foods Plc, the maker of Mama instant noodles, Thai Preseved Food Factory Co Ltd (Wai Wai instant noodles), Saha Group (Pao and Pro detergents), Lipon-F (dishwashing products), Kodomo baby-care products, Saltz toothpaste, Nissin noodles and biscuits, and PTT Plc. 

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