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Friday, June 21, 2024
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FOOD PRICES GOING UP OVER THE YEARS, HAWKER FOOD INCREASED OVER 6%

Hawker food prices in Singapore have seen a significant increase in 2023, with a rise of 6.1% – the highest since 2008, according to a new study by the Singapore Department of Statistics (SingStat). The study, published on May 6, analyzed the prices of 16 commonly sold food items and beverages across hawker centers, coffee shops, and foodcourts.

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The most significant price increases were seen in noodle-based cooked food items, with an average increase of 7.6%, followed by beverages at 7.0% and rice-based cooked food items at 6.3%. For instance, the average cost of a plate of chicken rice rose from S$3.40 in 2019 to S$4.15 in 2023, while a bowl of fishball noodles increased from S$3.46 to S$4.13 in the same period.

The study used the consumer price index for hawker food, which measures the average price changes across more than 100 hawker food items from 1,700 stalls. The index showed that hawker food inflation peaked at 8.3% in January/February 2023 but has since eased significantly to 4.1% in December 2023.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) attributed the easing of hawker food inflation to the significant fall in global energy and food commodity prices between February and December 2023, as well as the appreciation of the Singapore dollar nominal effective exchange rate. These factors helped to abate cost pressures faced by F&B (food and beverage) service providers, including hawkers, in terms of imported raw ingredients, electricity, and gas.

MTI expects hawker food inflation to ease further in 2024 if cost conditions stay favorable. The global prices of most food commodities, such as cereals, meat, and dairy, are likely to continue falling due to favorable global supply conditions. Additionally, the Singapore dollar trade-weighted exchange rate is gradually strengthening, which could help to mitigate the impact of imported inflation.

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The rise in hawker food prices is a concern for many Singaporeans, particularly those in lower-income groups. However, the government has implemented various measures to help hawkers and F&B businesses cope with the rising costs. For instance, the Hawkers’ Productivity Grant provides funding support to help hawkers adopt technology and productivity measures to reduce their operating costs.

In conclusion, while hawker food prices in Singapore have seen a significant increase in 2023, the inflation rate has since eased significantly, and further easing is expected in 2024. The government’s measures to support hawkers and F&B businesses, as well as the favorable global supply conditions and appreciation of the Singapore dollar, could help to mitigate the impact of inflation on consumers.

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