17:57 GMT22 June 2021
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    Taiwanese supermarkets have been stripped bare of toilet paper this week following the Friday announcement by suppliers that the price of the household staple would be increased by 10 to 30 percent next month.

    Last week, toilet paper suppliers said that the price hike would be caused by the higher cost of pulp, the fibrous raw material used to make paper and other paper products.

    One of the largest toilet paper suppliers, YFY, Inc., also claimed that transportation and packaging costs have also increased, contributing to the increased cost.

    ​According to Taiwan's state-owned Central News Agency, consumers would have to pay $11.32 for every 12-pack of toilet paper instead of the previous $8.71 for the same amount.

    ​Photos posted on social media over the weekend showed supermarket shelves, usually stocked with toilet paper, kitchen paper and boxed tissues, completely empty.

    ​Even major online retailers like PChome said that they had run out of toilet paper supplies over the last week. According to the retailer, they sold five million packs of toilet paper in three days.

    "We ask the public not to panic and not to rush to buy," William Lai, the Taiwanese Premier, recently told reporters.

    "The supply is sufficient and everybody will have toilet papers to buy," he added, Channel News Asia reported.

    ​As you can imagine, consumers are livid, accusing the government of disregarding price fixing by manufacturers.

    "The government wouldn't have paid attention if people were not snatching up toilet paper. The lousy government is only saying price-fixing is illegal after the media reported it," one post read on Apple Daily's website, a Hong Kong-based newspaper.

    ​"Taiwanese consumers are price-conscious," Shir Bashi, an editor at the English-language newspaper Taipei Times, told Newsweek recently. "Taiwan is quite a wealthy place but wages are relatively low. Price rises have quite a disproportionate effect on people's lives."

    In a statement this week, Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs told consumers to purchase toilet paper constructed out of recycled materials to save money. It also claimed that it would consult with the government's Fair Trade Commission to determine if there are any reports of atypical price changes or retailers conspiring to surge prices.


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