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Thai Markets to Sell Surgical Masks Cheap

Thais Wearing Face Masks

Face masks in Thailand are about to get cheaper and even easier to find after the Commerce Ministry said it would allow direct sales to the public.

Companies rushed into the market amid Thailand’s coronavirus outbreak and now, after the number of factories more than tripled, the country is drowning in them.

Until now, surgical masks had to be sent to the government first, which then allocated stock. From now on, manufacturers can sell directly to local markets, although the price of each masks is capped at 2.5 baht.

Considering the market glut and Thailand’s ban on mask exports through February 2021, actual prices likely will go even lower.

When the pandemic hit, Thailand had only nine companies making surgical masks. Now there are 30, with factories pushing out 4.5 million face coverings a day, the Internal Trade Department said.

The ministry estimated hospitals, other health workers and airport employees use about 2 million to 3 million masks a day. But factories are adding about 1.5 million masks a day to the surplus.

Manufacturers, who thought they’d get rich as Thailand’s outbreak worsened in April, are now trying to scratch back their investment and want to see the export ban, instituted March 3, lifted. China already has done so.