According to a media interview with hawkers by Chinese newspaper LianHe ZaoBao, the prices of most hawker food has risen by S$0.50 to S$1. Media reporters found that the average price of chicken rice, fishball noodles and char kway teow in Singapore has risen from S$4 to S$4.50, and a whole roasted duck now cost S$1 higher at S$16.
Most customers thought that the price raise was an one-off due to the Chinese New Year festive period, but prices did not revert after the CNY celebration. Many customers told the papers that inflation in the past used to be 10, 20 cents but now the increase has jumped by at least 50 cents.
Hawker owners told media reporters that business costs have risen significantly, especially food import from Malaysia. A spokesperson for a popular chicken rice stall said:
“We have not raised prices for more than 3 years but rental, salaries, foreign worker levies and ingredients have all increased. The business will close down if we do not raise prices.”
Cross border tolls were increased significantly following a tit-for-tag “price-match” quarrel between Singapore and Malaysia. Gas and utilities were also increased last year, with a new carbon tax to be paid this year. The worst news by far is the impending 2% GST increase which will likely see food prices raised by another dollar.
The government increased water price by 30% last year, spiralling a wave of inflation in coffeshop drinks. This however angered the government, with Minister Indranee Rajah criticising hawker stall owners’s response to the 30% water price increase as “indiscriminate and unreasonable”.