Prices up, buying down in HCM City

The busy Tet (lunar New Year) season is fast approaching, but the retail market in Ho Chi Minh City is experiencing a slowdown as prices of many consumer goods have risen.

Cost have spiked for several foods recently including seafood, vegetables and rice, leading to a decrease in consumers’ purchasing power.

Customers shop at Cong Quynh Co-op Mart in District 1, HCMC (Photo: SGGP)

Fish prices, for example, have surged by VND5,000-10,000 per kilogram; vegetables have increased VND500-1,000 per kilogram; and the price of high-quality rice has also gone up by VND1,000-2,000 per kilogram.

Many traders forecast that the price of rice will continue climbing in the days to come.  

The cost of computer appliances has also climbed by 5-10 percent.

In addition to retailers, wholesalers have likewise suffered a slowdown in business, despite the approaching holidays.

“At the same time in previous years, the market was very bustling, but this year it is idle,” said Thanh Huong, a wholesaler in Binh Tay market in HCM City’s District 6.

The same is true at another large market in District 5, An Dong, which sells items such as clothes, footwear, home appliances, and dried food.

Nguyen Thi Nhu Phuong, deputy head of the An Dong market management board, said: “Consumers’ buying power has decreased sharply at an extreme rate we have never seen before.

“Traders say they do not know whether the situation will improve in the days to come, and many lament that business has reduced by more than 50 percent compared to previous years,” Phuong added.

Several clothing stores on busy streets like Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Le Van Sy, Nguyen Trai, and Hai Ba Trung, meanwhile, have been reducing prices since November to lure cash-strapped customers.

The same is true at newly established trade centers such as Master Zone and Saigon Square 2, who report few customers in recent weeks.

The management boards of Binh Tay, An Dong and Tan Binh markets partly blamed the reduced buying power on the fact that personal income has not kept pace with the surge in the price of goods.

By Mai Thi - Translated by Truc Thinh

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