MANILA, Philippines - Consumers will have to deal with higher prices of bread, noodles, corned beef and ham, as Christmas season approaches.
"Ordinary consumers have no choice but to buy higher priced goods in November and December," Ernesto Chua, the chairman of the Philippine-Turkish Business Council, said of the effects of the port congestion and truck ban in Manila on consumer prices.
According to Chua, whose company is a major importer of flour in the country, production costs have increased by 5-6 percent but these are all absorbed by the importers for now.
Chua estimated the impact will be felt two months from now, in time for the onset of the holiday season.
Chua appealed to government to lift the truck ban and its campaign against colorum trucks in order to ensure the smooth flow of goods and raw materials during the peak months leading to Christmas.
Aside from bread, flour imports are also used in products like noodles, biscuits, cakes, breading, hopia and siopao.
Meanwhile, Philippine Baking Industry Group Inc. (PhilBaking) said bakers continue to absorb the increase in the price of flour.
"The port congestion is affecting the supply and prices of imported baking ingredients resulting to an increase in the cost of producing breads. Bakers, however, continue to absorb the cost increase as of now. So far, bakers have not yet indicated any plan on increasing prices or reducing the supply of bread. We are watching the situation very closely," Nestor Constancia, president of PhilBaking, said.
Meat processors are also reeling from additional costs due to the port congestion in Manila.
Francisco Buencamino, executive director of the Philippine Association of Meat Processors, said there are additional costs such as refrigeration and the payment for delay in the release of cargo.
On the average, Buencamino said the additional costs can reach up to P40,000, which the manufacturers are absorbing.
But he assured there will be no shortage in supply as many manufacturers have already stocked on meat supply.
However, the additional costs may result to higher prices of finished products like hotdogs, luncheon meat, tocino, ham, longganisa, bacon, meat loaf and corned beef in the next months as December approaches.
If this happens, Buencamino said it would be between 7-12 percent, which is a typical price spike during the holiday season.