Prices for furniture, medicine, DIY products, food, clothing, tech products and jewellery are set to rise significantly due to hefty increases in the price of imports from Asia, the Malta Chamber of Small and Medium Businesses warned on Friday.

Importers say their operations have suffered a big blow due to changes in the shipping industry related to the Far East and Turkey, with containers in short supply and importation costs skyrocketing over the past five months.

As a result, local importers are being asked to put up “substantial sums” as deposits in order to secure container space.

While Malta is not the only country impacted by escalating costs, its heavy dependence on imports mean it is more vulnerable to price inflation, as importers’ options are more limited.

Products imported from the affected regions span a range of sectors: the chamber listed furniture, DIY and home improvement products, healthcare items, cosmetics and medicine, food products, power tools and equipment, tech products, household goods and appliances, clothing and jewellery.

“Malta will be visibly experiencing price inflation” for all these, the Chamber said. The lobby group is currently in talks with the government about the matter.

"So far importers have adopted various mitigation measures at business level. Some have tried to hold off on importing, but they are now running low on stocks. Others have tried to absorb the cost as much as possible for their products to remain competitive.

The Chamber said that importers had spent the past five months hoping for the matter to resolve itself, but were now facing the prospect of having to raise prices to remain sustainable.

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