a year ago

Edible oil sees further hike in prices

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Edible oil has seen a further hike in prices in the last two days as prices of palm and loose soybean oil have again increased by Tk 4.0-7.0 per litre.

Market experts termed it abnormal as global prices of the two cooking oil varieties have declined notably in the last three months. However, local consumers are not getting the benefit.

Loose soybean oil price jumped to Tk 180-182 a litre, while the government rate is Tk 167, according to edible oil vendors.

The government also fixed the maximum rate of palm oil at Tk 117 per litre in December last. Super palm oil price, which already was Tk 147-150 per litre, further surged to Tk 154-155 a litre, said traders.

However, one-litre branded soybean oil was selling at the government-fixed rate of Tk 187 whereas half-litre branded oil was selling at Tk 98-100 defying the government rate, said Jewel Rana, a grocer.

Pradeep Ray, an oil retailer at Rayer Bazar, said wholesale prices of loose oil increased by Tk 3.0-4.0 a litre at Moulvibazar in the city in the last one week and it might surge further.

He further said wholesalers are also supplying lesser amounts against their requirement.

Many such traders are preserving oil to sell those at a much higher rate ahead of the month of Ramadan - to be started from the last week of March, he added.

Md Golam Mawla, president of Bangladesh Wholesale Edible Oil Merchants Association, said oil refiners are not providing oil timely based on the supply orders.

Traders are getting oil one month later, he said.

As a result, supply orders are being exchanged among two to three hands, thus raising prices, he pointed out.

Mr Mawla also said trucks had to wait for up to five days at the mill gate to have the supply of the commodity when a truck has to count Tk 4,500 in demurrage for a day's stay.

A leading refiner said import has declined amid a fresh crisis of the US dollar.

He said refiners are managing the market with the existing supply.

But the supply might increase notably in the next one month as a good chunk is being imported by major refiners ahead of the month of Ramadan, he added.

Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Vice-President SM Nazer Hossain said the government should start strict monitoring to bring a check and balance in the market as the fasting month is just a month ahead.

He said the authorities concerned should force the refiners to sell edible oil at the fixed rates approved by the government with the refiners' consent.

He said the surge in cooking oil prices is happening at a time when its global prices showed a decline.

Mr Hossain also urged the government to come up with a logical solution so that traders could open their required L/Cs in time to bring import-dependent commodity items.

The country has a demand for 2.2 million tonnes of edible oils, of which it imports 90-92 per cent, said the commerce ministry.

Of the imported edible oils, soybean comprised 42 per cent and palm oil 50 per cent in 2022.

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