Indian consumers have been subjected to a series of price hikes for personal care products, which the Economic Times is attributing to manufacturers hedging their bets ahead of the soon-to-be-introduced Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The report accuses both Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and Procter & Gamble of ushering in anticipatory price rises in advance of the new tariff, which will be enforced from July 1. The FMCG giants are thought to be introducing rises now in order to allow them to make future cuts.

“HUL has taken the view that tax rates on some of its product categories may come down after GST. This would mean that the margins may go up, due to which HUL has increased its production. P&G is, however, down-stocking its products with retailers, and has even reduced the manufacturing of some of its products,” an industry source told the Economic Times.

When contacted by the Economic Times, HUL attributed recent price rises to steep increases in the costs of raw materials, while P&G declined to comment.