Bt300 wage rise only slightly impacts goods prices: Commerce Minister


BANGKOK, March 22 – Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom insisted on Thursday the government policy’s minimum wage rise to Bt300, which starts on April 1, will only slightly impact goods prices.

The impact of the wage raise will be on some items for which labour is needed during the manufacturing process, such as school uniforms, paper, and plywood, as studied by the Internal Trade Department (ITD), its director-general Watcharee Vimuktayon said.

She added that material costs account for about 70-90 per cent, while labour costs for only 1-5 per cent of the overall, according to the structure of costs and prices of goods.

Mrs Watcharee noted that the higher minimum wage will allow workers to have greater purchasing power, so they will spend more, which will result in a higher sales volume of goods and a lower production cost per unit. In addition, the government’s policy to reduce corporate income tax will also help entrepreneurs on production costs.

Only some industries felt the pinch by higher oil prices affecting production costs, while the costs are indirectly impacted by the oil prices on goods distribution/transportation.

According to the Internal Trade Department, transportation fees account for 15 per cent of consumer goods prices. The higher prices of compressed natural gas at 12 per cent and diesel at 8 per cent currently impact transportation costs by only 0.44 per cent.

Higher energy prices are thus not the main reason that producers will use to ask to adjust goods prices.

The Commerce Ministry anticipates the consumer price index this year to expand by 3.30-3.80.