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President directs government to monitor commodity prices

The MOEA will not consider any increases in water or electricity rates for now, an official said amid public concerns that such a move could fuel a widespread increase in domestic commodity prices.

However, Liu Ming-chung, executive director of the State-owned Enterprise Commission under the MOEA, said that they “will adopt an 'increase by half' approach to adjusting petroleum prices.”

He noted that petroleum prices must take into consideration global crude oil prices, domestic commodity prices and the operations of the CPC Corporation, Taiwan — the state-run supplier of oil products.

He explained that if the petroleum prices are set at a level that fully reflects the current trend of rising world crude prices, mass transportation and other sectors are bound to be affected.

For this reason, the company usually absorbs some of the increase when world crude oil prices rise, he said.

CPC currently absorbs between NT$0.7 and NT$0.9 per liter in petroleum price increases, and NT$1 in diesel oil price hikes, he said.

“The government has not allowed CPC to set prices that fully reflect the rising price of world crude,” he stressed.

Liu also said that sugar prices are unlikely to increase after current inventory is used up in three months.

The government thinks an increase in sugar prices will be closely linked to possible food price hikes, and therefore will not allow the state-owned Taisugar to raise its sugars price randomly, Liu said.

Liu made the remarks at a news conference called by Legislator George Hsieh, a party whip of the ruling Kuomintang at the Legislative Yuan.

Hsieh lauded the Cabinet's decision to cut tariffs on flour, milk powder and other imported goods Thursday as a way of curbing possible hikes in domestic prices.

He also asked state-owned enterprises to consult with the executive and legislative branches and even the private sector if they want to raise prices.

Leading materials suppliers and food processing companies in the private sector said they have shelved all plans to raise prices for the time being, pending further market developments.

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 President directs government to monitor commodity prices 
Liu Ming-chung, left, executive director of the State-owned Enterprise Commission under the MOEA, delivers a statement during a press conference at the Legislative Yuan, yesterday, as Legislator George Hsieh, a party whip of the ruling Kuomintang, right, watches on. Liu said state-owned enterprises will not recklessly increase prices. (CNA)

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