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Biofuel: will it be the prize winner against inflation?

Phuket Prices: What's Putting Pressure on Inflation

Tuesday, June 10, 2008
THE PRICE of rice has surged alarmingly on Phuket along with the price of a motorcycle taxi ride and the cost of a bag of cement.

But inflation is being contained on the island so far, says the Department of Trade.

A spokeswoman in the department's Phuket office reports that Grade A rice has shot up from 135 baht for a five kilo bag to 217.25 baht between January and May.

Rice is one of 250 items and services checked each month on the island by department inspectors who track price rises and demand explanations where they are excessive.

While cars, pickups and motorcycles are the same price in May as in January, the cost of transport appears to be rising rapidly. So, it seems, is the cost of an education.

Motorcycle taxis are much more expensive, rising from 40 baht for a three kilometre trip in January to 55 baht in May.

Construction is also likely to be considerably more costly today. A bag of cement that cost 129.50 baht in January rose to 138 baht in May.

A computer with 40 gigabytes that cost 21,389 baht in January was a bargain compared to the cost of 24,900 baht for a similar computer in May.

The price of a small chicken has risen from 58 baht to 62.67 baht and there are some seasonal increases. A kilo of mixed red and green chillis that would have cost 44.83 baht in January now sets buyers back 77.88 baht.

Installing a hot shower? A water heater would have cost 3490 baht in January. By May it was more expensive at 3690 baht.

Given that Phuket has to import virtually every item from essential foodstuffs to luxury goods, it's a surprise that the department says that the island is actually containing inflationary pressures better than other southern provinces.

But with the price of oil still rising, producers may pass on increases in the cost to consumers soon.

For now, rice leads the rises. Some other essentials are edging higher.

A normal order at a Thai restaurant of fried mixed vegetables or similar items cost 62.50 baht in January and 65 baht in May.

Two items with rice from a bain marie at a regular food shop will cost 30 baht now compared to 26.25 baht in January.

The figures are revealing about some differences between the sexes, too. The price of a haircut in a barber's shop without aircon remains unchanged at 60 baht, or 86.67 baht with aircon.

A woman's haircut (presumably with a shampoo and a lot of chat) also has not risen from the January figure of 466 baht in a non-aircon salon, or 666.67 baht with aircon.

Yes, if that number can be believed, then cutting women's hair can be related directly to via the devil's own number to mischief, if not to inflation. And who said talk was cheap?

More seriously, here are some comparisons between January and May figures, taken from the department's long list:

Food
Noodles, up from 18.67 to 29.25, loaf of bread, 28 up to 32, single egg, 2.75 up to 3.18, milk, four pack, 24.50 to 30, Thai broccoli, 24.50 to 34.88, sugar, 19.05 to 24.30, cooking oil, 46.10 to 52.30, fish sauce, 17 to 19, hamburger at convenience store, 19 to 20, cup of Nescafe, unchanged at 12.

Power
Electricity has gone from 2.87 per unit to 2.90.

Dentist
A tooth extraction has risen since January from 600 baht to 650 baht.

Clothing
While a tee-shirt should cost the same at 199 baht, ladies' shirts have risen from 199 baht in January to 249 baht in May. An office uniform was 1089.50 baht in January. Today it's the same.

Education
For reasons that are not fully explaned, a high school levy for library, computer and other extras has jumped from 800 baht in January to 2600 baht. A school bag will cost 395 baht, unmoved since January.

Bathroom goods
Shampoo (180 gm) cost 38 baht in January and 43.33 baht in May. Tissues (six pieces) cost 28 baht in January and 33.50 baht four months later.

Baby powder has also moved up from 24.75 baht to 26 baht.

Hospital
One night's accommodation in a private hospital in an airconditioned room is unchanged at 2300 baht while a government hospital is also unchanged at 1200 baht.

Fuel
When it comes to energy, the price of a litre of octane 91 petrol was 32.32 baht. In May it was 37.54. Octane 95 moved from 33.61 baht to 39.01 baht. Diesel fuel rose from 29.87 baht in January to 35.77 baht.

Know of any ridiculous price rises on the island? Tell us by commenting in the box below

Figures from the Ministry of Commerce show Phuket's Consumer Price Index rating rose from 125.3 in April to 128.2 in May. That figure of 128.2 in May is a rise of 10.6 since May 2007.

The cost of food and beverage rose 2.1 points between April and May this year. The ministry attributed the increase to the price of petrol.

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Wednesday January 19, 2022
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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