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Friday, December 27, 2013

Stationery prices expected to go up

Published: Friday December 27, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM 
Updated: Friday December 27, 2013 MYT 11:14:13 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Prices of stationery items are expected to go up by 20% to 30% within the first quarter of next year.

Industry players claimed that they were revising the prices, partly due to the increasing costs from the implementation of minimum wages and transport costs.

Other factors include the new electricity tariff rate, higher fuel price and the currency exchange rate between the ringgit and China renminbi, as most of the imported stationery items are from China.

The speculated increase in toll rates and rentals are also expected to contribute to the increase.

The stationery products include papers of all sorts, clips, staplers, pencils, pens, colour pencils, files, note books (school exercise note books and notepads), markers and board dusters.

Almost all these items are used in offices, schools, institutes of higher learning and homes.

According to some stationery shop operators, there are only a few items that are locally made.

Most of the items come from China, with some coming from Taiwan, India and a few other countries.

The Federation of Stationers and Booksellers Association of Malaysia said price increase for stationery products was necessary as other costs were already on the rise.

Federation president Tey Tong Sing said the increase, expected to be 20% to 30%, would help to offset the rising costs borne by industry players, and likely to be enforced by March.

“We can absorb additional costs of 5% to 10% higher than the actual cost, but this is not the case,” he said.

About 90% of stationery and books sold here are imported from China, he said, adding that since fuel prices went up recently, freight fee had also gone up by about 30%.

“What with the goods and services tax (GST) to be implemented in 2015, we will have to increase prices if we are to make a living.

“I hope the Government will consider tax exemption for stationery items sold by shops owned by or based in educational institutions, as the market for these places are students,” he said.

Tey, however, appealed to shop owners to complete sales of their current stock at the usual price as the increase in price will only apply to new stock obtained from the date of implementation.

In Kota Kinabalu, Stationery and Books Association of Sabah president Ling Hie Sing said cost of imports, especially from China, was contributing to their increasing costs.

“We are unable to keep the prices of stationery low, he said, adding that his association had consulted the national federation on the price increase.

However, he urged local industry players to make every effort to keep prices at a “reasonable” level despite impending increase.

He said they should at least retain the old prices under the current inventory.

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