With intermittent paraffin wax price hikes, candle makers are burning their fingers

The intermittent rise in the price of paraffin wax, a byproduct of petroleum, has plunged Kerala candle makers into crisis. Although the situation warrants an increase in candle prices, manufacturers have declined the option given the decrease in attendance at religious institutions and weak demand.

CRSalim Kumar, President of Kerala Candle Makers Association, said Activity area that oil companies increased paraffin wax prices about 11 times from April to November. Rates hit 1.32 lakh per tonne against 31,000.

Decrease in consumption

Candle making is a cottage industry and more than one lakh, mostly women, depend on it for their livelihood.

When the government controlled oil prices, the price increase for paraffin wax was very minimal, and the government granted special concessions to candles used for prayers in religious institutions. However, after implementing the Administrative Price Mechanism (APM), the oil companies ignored the candle industry while raising the prices of oil and other commodities, he said.

PJJose, vice president of the association, said the candle export market had started to recover after the easing of the Covid situation, and the industry had prepared to meet demand for Christmas in Europe, USA, Australia, etc.

Candles are an inevitable part of European culture, like holidays, prayers, receptions and gifts, which India could capitalize on. However, the rising cost of freight and the shortage of containers are cause for concern. Rates reached $ 7,000 for Felixstowe in the UK from last year’s level of $ 1,000, said Jose, owner of Kochi-based Popular Candles.

He said cheap imports from China, Taiwan and Vietnam posed a threat to Indian products in overseas markets, for which he asked for government intervention. The government should also extend subsidies for raw materials and incentives to export-oriented units for its survival, he added.

The Association also urged the government to take into account their plight through instructions to oil marketing companies before moving ahead with further increases in product prices. He also called on the state government to put pressure on the Center for the Protection of Cottage Industry.

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