KOTA KINABALU: Prices of stationery are expected to increase by more than 10 per cent if the economic downturn and weakening of the Malaysian ringgit persists.
Stationery and Books Association of Sabah representative Michael Chin Wee Yee said the weak ringgit had caused the prices of various imported goods to rise, including paper.
Although the association’s members have been striving to keep their prices as low as possible by selling in large volumes at smaller profit all the while, Chin said operators may need to resort to a price hike in light of the current economic situation.
He said some suppliers have issued a new price list stating a price hike of around 10 per cent starting this year.
Chin said this during the annual general meeting (AGM) cum presentation of cash incentives to members’ children who scored good academic results here on Saturday.
However, the AGM was postponed to April 4 due to insufficient quorum.
Chin disclosed that the business of members has dropped between 20 and 30 per cent due to reduced purchasing power brought about by prudent government spending and the slowdown in the private business sector.
He said some members have begun to create their own branding for stationery in order to penetrate the Philippine, Indonesian and Bruneian markets.
Chin said the sector players should explore the overseas market in search of more business opportunities.
As such, he said the association would head for Philippines next month to meet with the country’s stationery association.
“Sabah is (geographically) closer to the Philippines and Indonesia compared to West Malaysia.
“At present, there are goods being exported from Sandakan to the Philippines,” he said.
Hence, he believed that the opportunity to export stationery was worth exploring.
On the competition between players in the same sector, Chin said there was not much stiff competition between members.
“Stationery and books are still a relatively stable sector as students still need to use stationery despite the bad economy,” he said.