Retailers in Cambodia told to avoid price gouging amid virus outbreak

  • Cambodia
  • Tuesday, 24 Mar 2020

Chinese medical experts on coronavirus arriving at the Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday (March 23). Chinese medical experts are in Cambodia to help local authorities deal with the virus. - AFP

PHNOM PENH: Panic buying has started across capital Phnom Penh as Cambodia's border closures due to Covid-19 (coronavirus) causes fear of food shortages in the country, resulting in prices for some food staples to almost double, local media reported on Tuesday (March 24).

The Ministry of Commerce has said that it is working to stop opportunistic food sellers' price gouging.

A local food seller said that dried fish has increased from 25,000 riels (US$6.25) to 35,000 riels (US$8.75) per kilogramme, pork has increased from 19,000 riels (US$4.75) per kilogramme to around 30,000 riels (US$7.5 dollars) per kilogramme, instant noodles increased from 20,000 riels (US$5) to 32,000 riels (US$8) per box, while other long-life products are also increasing in price.

Seang Thay, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, said that measures are being taken to calm any potential panic buying.

"We have asked sellers not to increase the price of products to unreasonable levels," he was quoted as saying by the Khmer Times.

Officers representing the Cambodia Import-Export Inspection and Fraud Repression Directorate-General (Cam-control) will conduct spot checks at markets, shops, malls and stores and explain to sellers why they should desist from hiking up their prices, he added.

Tuy Sokneng, food safety and quality assurance manager at Leang Leng, a fish sauce producer, said that there has been increased demand for his product recently.

"We can see that our products in the supermarket are all sold out and some markets are now completely out of stock. However, we have not increased our prices and will attempt to keep them as normal," he said.

"Our company is trying to keep the prices the same, however, we are experiencing an increase in raw material prices and this is affecting our production costs."

Cambodia has recorded a total of 87 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 to date, according to a Ministry of Health's statement released late on Monday.

Two of the patients have fully recovered and been discharged from hospitals, the statement said. - Xinhua/Asian Nedws Network
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