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Prices of oil, rice going out of control PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 January 2008

Consumers in lower and middle income brackets have been hit by the skyrocketing prices of oil and rice over the last week with traders fearing a further jump due to price hikes on the global market.

The minimum price for coarse rice was Tk 32 a kg yesterday, up from Tk 25 a week ago. Prices of medium-quality rice varieties, consumed mostly by the middle class, ranged between Tk 38 and 45, compared to Tk 32-38 last week.

Price of soybean oil has shot up significantly
Price of soybean oil has shot up significantly
Consumers in lower and middle income brackets have been hit by the skyrocketing prices of oil and rice over the last week with traders fearing a further jump due to price hikes on the global market.

The minimum price for coarse rice was Tk 32 a kg yesterday, up from Tk 25 a week ago. Prices of medium-quality rice varieties, consumed mostly by the middle class, ranged between Tk 38 and 45, compared to Tk 32-38 last week.

The retail price of a litre of soybean oil (non-brand) was Tk 94-100 compared to Tk 87-90 seven days ago, shoppers told The Daily Star yesterday.

The price of a five-litre soybean can rose by Tk 40-50 both on retail and wholesale markets. A five-litre container of Rupchanda soybean oil sold at Tk 500 at retail market compared to Tk 450 a week ago. During the same period, prices of the same quantity of Pushti and Teer soybean oil rose to Tk 480 from Tk 440.

Our correspondents from different districts report: Soybean oil was selling at Tk 100 yesterday. It has lately been in short supply on the retail kitchen markets there.

On the wholesale markets, per litre soybean oil sold at Tk 93 while it cost Tk 85-86 a week ago. Price of palm oil rose to Tk 80 from Tk 73 and that of a better quality palm to Tk 84 from Tk 77.

Importers claimed their prices reflect the price hikes on the international market. However, the wholesalers and retailers reject the argument saying that no consignment of soybean or palm oil has entered the country since the recent global price spiral.

They added that there are always reserves of edible oil that can feed the country for at least a month. So usually it takes more than a month for the global price hikes to affect the local markets.

In the last few days, price of per ton crude soybean oil on the international market has risen to $1,160 from $1,100 on December 22. During the same period, price of crude palm oil has reached $1,060, going up by $65, the importers said.

“But certainly the global price hike has nothing to do with the recent trends in the local market as the edible oil that is now being sold was exported long before December 22,” said AKM Fakhrul Alam, country manager of Malaysian Palm Oil.

Oil prices in the local markets should not rise further in the next couple of weeks as a shipment of 32 thousand metric tons of crude soybean is scheduled to arrive at the Chittagong port within a day or two while another 25 thousand tons of crude palm oil by the second week of January. Both the consignments have been bought at previous international rates, he added.

Sensing that the retail price of soybean oil might see a large rise significantly a section of unscrupulous traders have stopped releasing oil from their stocks. Besides, they have been stockpiling oil from the local market as well so they could maximise their profits later, said wholesalers at Moulvibazar in Old Dhaka, the largest distribution market for edible oil.

The crooked traders are using brokers to collect edible oil from the local market, they alleged.

“The suppliers have been selling oil at much higher prices while not giving us the products as per our demand. And it all forces us to increase prices,” said Kamal Hossain, a wholesaler at the city's Karwan Bazar kitchen market.

He also said the government should intervene in the market situation to make sure prices of the products bought at previous international rates do not increase.

Source: The Daily Star 

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