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in-focus

People urged not to hoard consumer products as there is ample supply 


The Commerce Ministry’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) dispatched its officers to survey the consumer product situation nationwide after people flocked to hoard goods amid the Covid-19 situation.

TPSO director-general Pimchanok Vonkorpon said today (March 17) that the officers would also seek details from product manufacturers on the production status of consumer goods. 
“People, panicking about this Covid-19 crisis, are concerned that cities would be locked down soon, causing the public to reduce outside contact and hoard foods and products that are necessary,” she said.
“We confirm that people do not need to worry because the production of common goods in the country is still sufficient.”
She said that although some products may have disappeared from shelves due to a sudden increase in demand and after employees were unable to arrange for new products in time, stocks were still sufficient while prices remain at the normal level. 
The products that people need more than usual can be divided into three categories:
1. Fresh foods and seasonings: People have changed their habit of buying for each meal to buying a lot to reduce outside contact, making it difficult for stores to arrange new products in time.
2. Instant foods: The public normally buy these products in an emergency situation. 
3. Necessary products: The same as instant foods, people hoard these products to make sure they will overcome the present situation. However, most of these items are produced in the country, so when production and management systems are adjusted according to demand, they will be sufficient.
The TPSO believes the shortage of hand sanitising gels will improve to meet demand because the country can produce these products while the government has relaxed regulations on using excess alcohol from the energy sector for production of the gels.
“After obtaining details directly from instant food and product manufacturers, the TPSO found that the production of these goods was still normal while there were ample raw materials for domestic consumption,” Pimchanok said.
The utilisation of these products is still lower than the production capacity, by around 50-68 per cent, and many manufacturers are increasing production to 100 per cent to meet the demand, she added.
She said the office is evaluating product prices and will inform the public.
“People do not need to worry about food and consumer product shortage during this period because it will only be short term, while manufacturers of cleaning items and sanitising gels are accelerating production to meet demand soon,” she said.
Pimchanok added that the Commerce Ministry will monitor the product situation closely and issue additional measures to relieve public burden.

Published : March 17, 2020

By : The Nation