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Consumers cutting back

Consumers cutting back

Whether its pork, cooking gas or beer, prices are rising across Phnom Penh, but at different rates in different neighborhoods, a survey of prices this week found. Vendors say the result is that people are buying less.

 

The price of beer rose $6 per case for particular brands.

 

“The company that sells beer to me just increased their prices last month,” said the proprietor of Ly Leng Touch drink shop on street 217. “My customers have been buying less beer.”

 

At Ly Leng Touch, a case of Anchor beer is up to $15.50, from $10.80 in February. Angkor is $14, up from $8.20, while a case of Tiger will set you back $18.60, up from $16.80.

 

Ja Ra, the owner of a small beer wholesale shop in central Phnom Penh, said Anchor was now $15 a case, up from $10.50 and that Angkor was $14, up from $9.

 

“I have fewer customers now,” she said. “They still come here but they just buy less.”

 

Meanwhile, sporadic supplies are causing big fluctuations in the price of cooking gas. A 15kg bottle of gas on April 2 cost $20 at the Raksmey Battambang Gas Shop on Sihanouk Boulevard, $23 at the Big Sun gas shop near the Olympic Stadium, and $25 at the Mekong Gas shop on Street 182.

 

“Last month prices went up and down a lot. We charged between $20 and $30 as we just couldn’t get new supplies regularly,” said Srey Lyda, the owner of the Raksmey Battambang shop.

 

Pork prices, however, dropped slightly following the Prime Minister’s decision to lift an import ban, but sales are also down.

Chak Eang, who sells pork in Orussey Market, said pork hit an all time high in March of 20,000 riel per kilogram.

 

Scarce domestic supply appears to be what has driven prices sky high: on April 2 pork was hovering at 19,000 riel per kilo.

 

“People buy two or three times less pork from me than before. They used to buy a kilo, now they buy half a kilo, if that,” said Eang.

 

“Farmers have stopped raising pigs. They can make so much profit on vegetables, so why bother?” he added.

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