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Asia Minute: Thailand focuses on noodle price pressures

Malaysia Instant Noodles dry noodles
FILE - A man walks past packages of instant noodles manufactured by Acecook Vietnam on display at the 7th World Instant Noodle Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, April 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

Inflation is hitting prices across Hawaiʻi and around the world. Among other items, costs are going up for all kinds of food. And in Thailand, that includes a basic item: instant noodles.

As anyone on a tight budget will tell you, cup noodles generally come in on the lower end of the price scale.

That’s true around the world, but noodle prices are coming under pressure. In Thailand, it’s sparking some pushback.

A couple of months ago, the Thai Commerce Ministry put a cap on various products to shield consumers from inflation, which is running at nearly 8% in the country.

But now the five main producers of instant noodles are appealing to the government for permission to raise their prices by 2 baht, or about a nickel.

That would put the cost of a pack of instant noodles at the equivalent of about 22 cents — up from about 17 cents.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed up the price of wheat, which has stretched to the cost of noodles.

Bills for energy and transportation have also risen sharply, along with packaging costs.

The Thai noodle companies say they’re now losing money on sales.

Last week, the Bangkok Post quoted the Commerce Minister as saying a 2 baht increase might be too much for consumers.

He said government officials will come up with a price adjustment based on the production costs of each of the noodle-makers.

It’s not just Thailand facing noodle price pressures. Earlier this month, CNBC Indonesia quoted the Minister of Agriculture as saying the price of instant noodles in his country could triple.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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