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Onion prices stay at highs

| Updated: September 20, 2020 18:07:09

Onion prices stay at highs

The prices of local varieties of onion remained almost unchanged at the previous highs of Tk 100-Tk 120 per kilogram in retail markets on Thursday.

The bulb was selling at Tk 50-Tk 60 per kg just few days back, trading sources said.

The prices of onion doubled in the city's kitchen markets within a couple of days after India imposed an export ban on the spice.

Prices of imported Indian varieties also doubled selling at Tk 75-Tk 90 a kg, traders said.

Besides, ginger and imported garlic witnessed a further price hike during the period.

Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) found an 80-100 per cent surge in onion prices in a week and it was 136-167 per cent in last two and a half weeks.

The prices increased as the Indian government imposed an indefinite ban on onion export from Monday to tackle their internal market, according to Indian media.

However, the Bangladesh government started open market sale (OMS) of onion through 275 trucks across the country including 40 in Dhaka.

TCB-run trucks were selling 500 tonnes of onion at Tk 30 a kg where consumers are allowed to buy 2.0 kgs at a time.

Crowd before TCB outlets increased notably in last two days as people were thronging there to buy onion as a subsidized rate of Tk 30 a kg when the same item was selling at Tk 75-Tk 90 a kg in the market.

Market monitoring has been stepped up across the country as Directorate of National Consumers Rights Protection (DNCRP) fined 110 traders Tk 1.0 million.

The Bangladesh Bank (BB) asked the commercial banks on Thursday to charge minimum margin on opening letters of credit (LCs) for importing onion. The order will remain effective until December 31.

The central bank took the measure for stabilising onion prices in the local market through ensuring adequate supply of the key spice.

In a circular issued on the day, the BB said the prices of onion are spiking in the local market as a result of its price surge in the international market.

The central bank instructed the banks to keep margins on opening LCs for importing onion at a minimum level.

The BB, however, did not set any LC margin for importing the essential cooking item.

Shocked over the Indian government's decision to impose ban on onion exports, Bangladesh has decided to raise the issue in the upcoming Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meeting with India.

Foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar will lead the respective sides in the JCC, scheduled to be held on September 29.

"Many look the Indian government's decision as a 'violation of Gentlemen's Agreement' as during the last commerce ministry level meeting between the two countries, both sides had agreed verbally there would be a prior communication between the two countries of such ban on commodities, especially on onion, would be imposed," a senior official of the foreign ministry told the FE.

tonmoy.wardad @gmail.com, rezamumu@gmai.com



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