Monday, June 09, 2008

Singapore braces for knock-on effects of fuel price hike

SINGAPORE: The fuel price hike in Malaysia is going to bite Singaporeans soon, and hard.
Prices of a range of goods are set to go up in the island as the cost of trucking them in rises, with fresh food topping the list.

Importers said vegetables, eggs and live poultry from Malaysia will cost 10% to 30% more from as early as next week.

The impact will not be limited to produce.

Practically everything imported from Malaysia, including building materials, will also cost more soon.

Even a bus ticket up north is going to be more expensive. Coach companies are already talking about a 25% hike in fares.

They say ticket prices, which are now between $25 (RM60) and $55, will go up soon.
The increases follow Malaysia’s decision to trim subsidies for petrol and diesel and raise pump prices from Thursday.

Overnight, that meant a 78 sen or 40% increase in petrol prices to RM2.78 per litre.
The lorries bringing market produce here run mainly on diesel, which saw the biggest jump in price after the announcement to increase the cost of fuel was made on Wednesday.

The price of diesel was increased by RM1 or 63% to RM2.58 per litre on Thursday.
Wholesalers in Singapore, meanwhile, are bracing for a big hit, and say they will have no choice but to pass on some of the increases to consumers.

Egg exporters in Malacca, for example, say that the three-hour trips to Singapore will now cost about RM11,500 per lorry per month, up from RM7,000.

The result, says Singapore’s Eggs Import and Export Trading Association, is that egg prices could soon leap by 30% in the republic.

Gary Tan, owner of At Thoa Vegetable Wholesaler says: “Since we import so much of our fresh produce from Malaysia, cost increases will definitely be passed down to consumers.”
The vegetable dealer adds: “I have already told them (the customers) to expect it.”
Singapore imported 177,117 tonnes of vegetables (46% of total imports), 61,304 tonnes of chicken (37%) and 60,751 tonnes of eggs (100%) from Malaysia last year. – The Straits Times/Asian News Network