By Elijah Felice Rosales, June 28 2019; Business Mirror

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The price of processed milk, along with other basic commodities, is expected to go up by as much as around P2 within the next few days, as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) approved another round of price increases in basic goods.

In the second quarter suggested retail price (SRP) list of the DTI, prices of nine milk products had already gone up between P0.25 and P1.8. The upticks affected all categories of processed milk, from condensed to evaporated milk.

Milkmaid Full Cream Milk increased to P72, from P70.2 in the last SRP, while Alaska Evaporada to P26.25 and Cow Bell Evaporada to P21, from P26 and P20, respectively.

Condensada brands of Carnation, Cow Bell and Liberty also raised prices between P0.25 and P0.75. On the other hand, prices of Alpine Full Cream Milk and Carnation Evaporated Milk ticked upward between P0.25 and P0.5.

Trade Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo said the new round of price hikes, particularly in milk products, was brought about by higher production cost as requested by manufacturers in their petitions to the DTI.

“Some [of the price increase] requests made in 2018, we split the approvals to cushion the burden for consumers. Some were requested in April [for] reasons [of higher prices of] raw materials and production,” Castelo said in a text message.

Aside from processed milk, 3 in 1 coffee brand Kopiko Black increased to P7, from P6 in the last SRP.

Kopiko, an Indonesian coffee product, reels from the special safeguard duty imposed by the Philippines on coffee imports. The SSG application means Kopiko maker PT Mayora should pay additional duties on the difference between its landed price and the SSG trigger price of P203.74 per kilogram.

Further, Lorins Patis PET Bottle raised prices by nearly P1 to P19.9, from P19.1, while Lorins Pouch to P9.9, from P9.45, and Lorins Budget Pouch to P18.25, from P17.5.

Castelo said this is the second and last round of price hikes in the products covered. The first round was apparently rolled out by batches in previous SRPs to reduce impact on the part of buyers.

In a news statement issued on Wednesday, Laban Konsyumer President Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba questioned why the DTI approved another round of price increases after inflation slightly went up in May and consumer confidence declined in the second quarter per the Central Bank’s Consumer Expectation Survey.

Inflation—the general increase in commodity prices—rose 3.2 percent in May, higher than the 3 percent in April, but more weathered than the 4.6 percent during the same month last year. Meanwhile, consumer outlook in the second quarter fell to a confidence index of -1.3 percent, from -0.5 percent in the first quarter.