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Volatile commodity market rings alarm

Sugar price up by Tk 12 a kg, soybean oil by Tk 13 per litre


Published : 17 Nov 2022 09:41 PM

The prices of essential commodities, including soybean oil, sugar, flour and rice are continuously increasing alarmingly causing immense sufferings to people and leaving them angry and concerned.

In the latest move, the government increased the prices of soybean oil and sugar on Thursday while the price of flour was increased on Tuesday.

Soybean oil price has been hiked by Tk 12 to Tk 190 per litre while the price of sugar by Tk 13 to Tk 108 per kg.

The new rate became effective from Thursday (November 17).

According to a circular of the Bangladesh Sugar Refiners Association, the maximum retail price of sugar is adjusted in accordance with the international market.

Following this, an application for price adjustment was made on November 3 with necessary documents. Later, two rounds of discussions were held with the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission regarding price adjustment.

As per the new prices, per kg loose sugar is Tk102 and packaged sugar, Tk108 per kg.

Meanwhile, in a separate notification, Bangladesh Vegetable Oil Refiners and Banaspati Manufacturers Association said that the maximum retail price of edible oil is adjusted in line with the international market.

Following this, an application for price adjustment was made on November 1 with necessary documents.

Later, two rounds of discussions were held with the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission regarding price adjustment. The commission agreed on price adjustment.

The new price of  a litre of bottled soybean oil from Thursday is Tk 190, and a 5 litre bottle, Tk 925. Open soybean oil price is Tk 172 per litre and palm oil Tk 121 per litre.

Earlier on Tuesday, flour prices shot up in the capital yet again, along with prices of other essential commodities. Traders attributed the hike to supply scarcity. In the different kitchen markets, prices of wheat flour (atta) reached an all-time high of Tk 80-82 per kilogram.

Packaged all-purpose flour (maida) retailed at Tk 78-82 a kg, unpacked maida Tk 74-75 a kg, packed atta Tk 66-70 and loose atta, Tk 62-64 a kg.

The price witnessed a 5-7% hike in one week, 10-12% in a month and 61-80% in a year, according to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).

Besides flour, other essentials including lentil and edible oil prices also showed a further increase in the seven day period.

Some traders also observed that despite wheat prices remaining static in the international market, especially on both sides of the Atlantic, in the last few months after Ukraine started exporting the commodity through its Black Sea ports, the essential food grain got costlier in the local market last week.

Though global prices of wheat are at $320-$350 per tonne (excluding freight and other charges), scarcity of the US dollar has made it difficult for local importers to bring wheat from abroad, said an importer.

Consumers Association of Bangladesh secretary Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan said the government should immediately work on increasing import of essential food grains.

Importers of food grain and other essential items should be given priority in this regard, he said, adding market monitoring should also be increased to ensure smooth supply and distribution of the food items.

The government has a stock of only 210,000 tonnes of wheat out of a total of 1.58 million tonnes of food stock, said the Food Ministry.

Local wheat output remained almost static at 1-1.1 million tonnes in the past five years, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).

The country has a demand of 6.5-7 million tonnes of wheat, of which 95% is imported from India, Europe and North America.