Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Retailers Association (Aprindo) said on Sunday that retailers are selling basic commodities above the retail price ceiling and other reference prices due to high prices among producers.

Aprindo Chairperson Roy N. Mandey said that producers of basic commodities such as rice, sugar, and cooking oil had increased prices to 25–35 percent above the caps during the past week, forcing retailers to follow suit.

"We have no choice and must buy (the commodities) above the retail price ceiling from the producers or local rice suppliers," he told ANTARA.

Mandey underlined that his association does not have the authority to regulate and control the prices of basic commodities set by producers.

The prices set by producers reach retailers through distribution networks and then consumers at stores.

He said that price hikes at the producer level would cause a shortage at stores and could trigger panic buying among consumers.

Retailers are starting to have difficulty getting supplies of packaged 5-kilogram local rice of premium quality as the harvest period is only expected to occur in mid-March 2024.

Additionally, the shortage and high prices of rice also occurred because the medium-quality rice imported by the government had not arrived yet.

"The imbalance between supply and demand is the one that led to an increase in the retail price ceiling of rice," he remarked.

Therefore, Aprindo asked the government to relax the retail price ceiling and other reference prices to enable retailers to continue buying basic commodities from producers.

This step is also aimed at preventing a shortage of basic commodities, especially because in February, retailers are starting to buy from producers to prepare supplies for the holy month Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr festivity.

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Translator: Maria Cicilia, Raka Adji
Editor: Anton Santoso
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