Jump in toilet roll prices puts Malaysia 5th in global comparison study

Finder.com says many household items have been in short supply as panic buying sets in around the globe.

PETALING JAYA: A new study shows that Malaysia experienced the fifth largest price increase for toilet paper out of 90 countries over a four-week period following the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The study by financial comparison platform Finder.com showed that Malaysia’s toilet paper prices surged 32.26% from US$1.55 to US$2.05 for four rolls from March 25 to April 22.

This puts it behind Norway where prices increased by 67.53%, Singapore (48.84%), Cyprus (35.08%) and Austria (33.85%).

The study was based on user-contributed data from cost-of-living calculator Expatistan.

“Overall, prices around the world jumped by about 3.37% between March 25 and April 22, from US$1.93 to US$2.00, with almost 57% of all countries tracked by Expatistan seeing an increase in the price of loo paper,” Finder said.

It added however that some 18% saw no change in price while 26% experienced a drop in prices.

Finder’s global editor-in-chief Angus Kidman said the increase in prices could be pinned on both supply and demand.

“With panic buying setting in around the world, many common household items have been in short supply.

“While governments have been quick to step in to stop price gouging, there are always going to be those that look to capitalise on shortages by driving up the prices,” he said.

He said the Malaysian government had been quick to act by enforcing the MCO.

“But the damage may have already been done, as the jump in the price of toilet paper in Malaysia was well above what we saw in other countries.”

He added however that the data by Expatistan was self-reported and limited in use.

“We don’t know definitively whether price increases are due to retailers charging more for in-demand products or whether people are simply reporting higher prices.”

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