Sugar and some vegetables saw a price spiral last week, adding to the woes of commoners.
Meat prices also increased a little bit because of the rising demand in restaurants on the eve of Valentine's Day and Pahela Falgun (spring festival), said traders.
Sugar prices increased further by Tk 2.0-4.0 a kilogram to Tk 68-70 (loose) and Tk 70-72 (packet) on Friday.
The Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) has recorded a 4.0-per cent hike in sugar prices in the past week and 12 per cent in the past two months.
Mihir Kumar Kanungo, a grocer at Durga Mandir area under Rayerbazar, said sugar prices have risen by Tk 70-80 per maund (37.32kg) at Moulvibazar wholesale market in 10 days.
Sugar was selling at Tk 2,280-2,310 a maund at different wholesale shops in the market, he added.
Bangladesh Sugar Wholesalers Association president Sher Mohammad said prices rose further at mill gates by Tk 1.5-2.0 a kg which has been reflected at retail level.
In January, he said, refiners informed commerce minister of raising sugar prices.
"Prices increased for third time in the past two-and-a-half months," Mr Mohammad concluded.
Sources said private refiners raised prices on grounds of high import cost amid higher taxes and VAT (value-added tax) in various phases.
IndexMundi has recorded a slight hike in sugar prices by $12-20 per tonne in the last three months.
Bulk sugar was traded at $300-310 (FoB) a tonne, according to the global commodity web portal.
Consumers Association of Bangladesh secretary Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan said essential commodity market needs regular monitoring by government agencies to prevent any artificial price hike.
Sugar prices have been raised by the refiners in last two months in pretext of high tariffs, he added.
"Both commerce and finance ministries should minimise higher taxes and VAT over both sugar and edible oils from import to refining and marketing level to make traders fix logical prices."
Bangladesh imports 1.8-2.2 million tonnes of sugar against its annual demand for 1.8 million tonnes, according to commerce ministry.
The country produces only 0.08 million tonnes through state-run sugar mills.
Meanwhile, brinjal and bottle gourd prices increased by Tk 10-20 a kg or apiece in a week.
Brinjal retailed at Tk 60-80 a kg and medium-sized bottle gourd at Tk 80-100 apiece on Thursday.
Off-season long bean was selling at Tk 90-100 a kg and snake gourd at Tk 70-80. Papaya was traded at Tk 40-45 a kg last week. The prices of seasonal cauliflower, cabbage, tomato, cucumber, radish, carrot and leafy vegetables, however, remained static.
Beef prices increased by Tk 20 a kg to Tk 540-570 a kg while indigenous chicken witnessed a hike in prices by Tk 40-50 a kg last week.
Sonali and Pakistani chicken also rose by Tk 20-40 a kg.
Madhubazar chicken vendor Anwar Hossain told the FE that demand from restaurants increased in the past few days centring Valentines' Day and spring festivals.
The two festivals were celebrated on Friday.
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