PM rejects consumer goods price hike claim

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BANGKOK, May 3 — Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday rejected claims that consumer prices are skyrocketing, saying the information gathered by government officials indicated that prices are on a downward trend.

However, she said the Commerce Ministry has been assigned to set up a public complaints centre and to seek measures to ease the impact of the cost of living.

The premier said she is confident that prices will return to normal in the second half of this year.

Ms Yingluck argued that the public might have felt that consumer product prices were increasing overall as a result of psychological effects despite the fact that the prices are going down.

The feeling might have stemmed from last year’s massive flood that spurred a price rise and even though prices have fallen, the public is not satisfied with the trend, she said.

Citing a government-sponsored survey, the premier insisted prices were gradually improving. She also pledged that her government would prepare measures to reduce the burden of certain groups of people particularly low-income earners and small- and medium enterprise (SME) operators.

Various measures implemented by the government were meant initially to ease the impact on the cost of living including the start-up salary rise and daily minimum wage hike, she said.

Some consumer products were not fully 100 per cent back to normal as some factories in flooded industrial estates have just resumed operations, the premier said. It was expected that the factories could resume normal operation by the second half of the year.

Ms Yingluck asked entrepreneurs to ensure fair price for consumers while the commerce ministry will closely monitor prices to protect consumers.