Dairy firms promise stable prices through year's end

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Several dairy companies said they will keep their prices stable through the end of this year, following the introduction of a new rule aimed at tightening government control over baby formula prices.

US producer Mead Johnson was quoted in a report on news website VnExpress as saying that it wishes to "assist" Vietnamese consumers.

The company has also rolled out new packaging for its popular baby formula products which, it said, will help consumers save money.

The company increased its prices by around 5 percent in January.

Hanco, a local milk and beverage company, also promised to keep its prices unchanged.

Meanwhile, other companies told VnExpress that they would not raise prices unless input costs surge sharply in the remaining months.

Vietnam's largest dairy firm, Vinamilk, said it would try to contain price increases in the face of a recent devaluation of the dong and sugar hikes.

Promises for stable milk prices came after the Ministry of Finance's decision last week to force importers of powdered milk products for children under six to register their prices and production costs with the authorities.

The new rule, which will take effect in October, is aimed at exerting some control over milk prices in Vietnam, which have increased steadily in recent years.

VnExpress cited a retailer in Ho Chi Minh City as saying milk prices have become a huge burden for many families. A lot of parents have switched to local, cheaper milk brands for their children, causing sales of foreign milk to drop.

Further price hikes would be too much for consumers, the retailer said.

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