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MTI warns against profiteering from hike in liquor duties

It will monitor market for unfair or coordinated price increases

Published on Feb 25, 2014 8:22 AM
 
Four supermarket chains have curbed sales of existing stocks of alcoholic drinks since last Friday evening. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) yesterday warned businesses against profiteering from the increase in liquor duties.

MTI will work closely with the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) and the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) to "monitor the market for any unfair pricing and coordinated price hikes which are anti-competitive", it said in a statement last night.

Meanwhile, four supermarket chains have stopped bulk purchases of the alcoholic beverages at their outlets, for which they have not increased prices.

Yesterday, MTI said its statement was in response to recent media reports that said retailers might raise prices due to the rise in liquor duties. It took issue, in particular, with a comment made last Saturday by Mr Thomas Foo, chairman of Kheng Keow Coffee Merchants Restaurant and Bar-Owners Association, who said the price of a bottle of beer costing around $6 might go up by $1.

 
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Background story

While we fully expect liquor prices to adjust as a result of the increase in excise duties, sellers should not take advantage of this to raise prices unreasonably. MTI will work closely with the Consumers Association of Singapore and the Competition Commission of Singapore to monitor the market for any unfair pricing and coordinated price hikes which are anti-competitive. Consumers should exercise their rights to walk away from merchants pricing alcohol unreasonably. Consumers can also report any errant sellers to the Consumers Association of Singapore."

- Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, warning consumers to guard against profiteering