Prices of Noche Buena items rise

THE prices of Noche Buena items have increased by up to 10 percent, the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) price guide for Christmas products released Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022 shows.

In the guide table, Filipino Christmas staples, such as ham, fruit cocktails and keso de bola showed price increases of at least 10 percent.

Ham prices went up from P158-862.50 in 2021 to P163-892.50 today, fruit cocktail from P55-P255 to P56-P288, and cheese from P48.90-P350 to P54.35-P371.

The prices of elbow macaroni and salad macaroni have gone up by P4-27.75 to P23-119 and P39-117, respectively.

Spaghetti sauce now retails for P23.55-95.50, up by P1.55-14.93, while tomato sauce is now at P17.25-92.25, up by P1.20-18.50.

Prices for mayonnaise range from P24 to P234, indicating an increase of P0.60 to P23.45 compared to last year’s prices. Sandwich spread sells for from P26 to 252, which is equivalent to a P0.60 to P13.16 increase.

Noche Buena refers to the Christmas Eve meal that families specially prepare for.

The DTI Consumer Policy and Advocacy Bureau (CPAB) said the increase is due to the high cost of imported and local materials, packaging materials and overhead charges.

They said the agency does not regulate or approve prices of Noche Buena products, unlike basic necessities and prime commodities included in the Suggested Retail Price bulletin as mandated by the Price Act.

“Retailers may have different prices because of the non-regulation of the prices of the Noche Buena products — but this is where free market competition comes into play,” CPAB said.

It added that the price adjustments might have already been implemented by some manufacturers even before the guide was released.

The DTI said the rising prices of goods are expected to further stoke inflation for the rest of the year.

It can be recalled that headline inflation accelerated to 7.7 percent in October, marking the seventh straight month that inflation breached the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) 2-4 percent target range.

Within 10 months, inflation averaged 5.4 percent, still below the BSP’s revised average forecast of 5.8 percent.

The agency said it has continuously conducted dialogues with manufacturers of basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPC) and seasonal products to ensure that consumers can still access low-cost staples in the markets.

Earlier, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the DTI would negotiate with manufacturers to keep prices of Noche Buena items unchanged if possible. (HIC)