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Rice prices dropping steadily on wholesale market PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 January 2008

Staff Correspondent
The retail prices of coarse varieties of rice either remained steady or declined very slowly although in wholesale markets the prices continued to drop significantly in the last three days.

Markets sources said that the retailers were selling rice at high prices as they had bought it at abnormal prices in the past week. Moreover, they said, the number of customers has declined as many of them bought extra stocks of rice, fearing that prices might rise even further.

Wholesale market prices dropped further for the third consecutive day on Sunday in the city and northern districts because diminishing demand and increased supply forced the wholesalers to cut prices.

‘Retail prices have not declined here but we are hearing of declining prices and increased supply in the television channels,’ said Anwara Begum, a meat-shop employee, at Nakhalpara bazaar in the city.

Varieties of coarse rise — Guti Sharna and China Irri — were selling for prices ranging from Tk 32 to Tk 33 per kilogram in most areas of the city including Nakhalpara, Mahakhali and Tejgaon. In some areas of the old town, the retailers were selling rice for Tk 31 or Tk 32, decreasing the price by Tk 1 in the last two days.

Humayun Mia, a rice retailer at Azimpur, observed that most retailers bought rice stocks at high prices last week so they are selling at high prices. ‘Retail prices will decline by the end of this week.’

Noor Mohammed, a wholesaler at Babubazar, said falling sales and increased supply have forced price cuts there for the second day on Sunday. The price of coarse rice declined by around Tk 80 per maund by Sunday afternoon.

Traders at Babubazar, the largest wholesale market of rice in the capital, said that although the supply of fine varieties rice did not increase, the falling demand forced them to cut their prices by Tk 20-40 per maund in the last two days.

The traders there get commission of 15 paisas per kilogram for selling rice supplied by millers, importers and traders.

Nurul Islam, a rice miller and supplier in Naogaon, said that lower demand in Dhaka is forcing them to cut prices. ‘We are facing two problems. Millers here are losing money due to falling prices while law enforcers are asking them to not to stock rice,’ he told.

The supply shortage kept rice prices rising but the market saw abnormal increases throughout last week after India raised the minimum export price of rice by $75 to $500 per tonne, creating panic in the rice markets.

Prices of coarse rice were increased by Tk 7 in a week and Tk 9 in a month. The Trading Corporation of Bangladesh’s report on Thursday showed that coarse varieties of rice became dearer by about 28 per cent in a month, medium-grade by 30 per cent and fine grade by 17 per cent.

The government started open market sale of rice and took measures to increase supply from alternative sources to arrest prices at the wholesale level.

According to the Bangladesh Economic Outlook, released at the end of December by Unnayan Shamunnay, two floods and the deadly cyclone reduced the production of paddy by about 2.4 million tonnes, which accounts for more than 10 per cent of the total annual rice production.

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