SIBU: Those celebrating Chinese New Year will feel the pinch as prices of imported goods from China will rise, no thanks to the depreciation of the ringgit.
The Lunar New Year falls on Feb 19.
Sarawak China Trade Import and Export Association vice-chairman Richard Wong said yesterday that all imported goods from China were now dearer by 8% to 10%.
“This is a headache for us. The exchange rate is RM3.60 from RM3.20 (to the US dollar) less than two months ago. If the ringgit continues to depreciate vis-a-vis the US dollar, prices of goods from China and elsewhere will of course go up as as Malaysian importers only pay in US dollar,” he said.
Wong said that prices of items for the New Year such as mandarin oranges, soy products and canned food would fetch a higher price.
The drop in the price of oilat the moment, he said, would however not translate to cheaper prices for imported goods.
“Despite the cheaper fuel, we still can’t make adjustment to the price of imported goods to off-set the depreciation of the ringgit now as we are still paying the same freight charge. There is no indication at all from transport companies that they would lower the freight charge,” he said.
For every 20-foot long container, importers are still paying freifht charge of US$1,200.
“We still have old stocks but for new ones, the price in the market will depend on the performance of the ringgit. We even could not foresee the cost prices of the goods for the coming weeks as prices will be made known to us when the goods arrive,” he added.
Wong said as the cost price could not be quoted to them beforehand, they had no choice but to order only the necessary items and also at a lower volume.
“Our profit margin is very marginal and with old stocks to clear first, we would not be placing much orders from the suppliers,” he said, adding that the days of cheaper goods from China were also numbered now due to the higher labour cost.
He anticipated that with the current scenario, Chinese New Year revellers would be more conscientious in their expenditure.