Rice, edible oils and chickens became costlier last week, increasing sufferings of the consumers, especially the commoners whose income has declined notably amid the pandemic.
Sugar price remained at its previous high ignoring the government's order to sell the sweetener at a rate fixed by the authority, according to trading sources.
Rice prices also witnessed a hike across all varieties in the last seven days. Traders said the main staple witnessed a Tk 2.0-3.0 a kg hike in the week as coarse variety was sold at Tk 50-52 per kilogram and medium one at Tk 56-60 a kg Thursday. Finer varieties were retailed on the day at Tk 65-80 a kg depending on quality.
Insiders said existing high import costs as well as stocking by big millers, wholesalers and large farmers are the key reasons behind the high rice prices.
Rice started to get pricier again at a time when imports of the cereal through private channel were just kicked off, and the government having a second ever highest food stock and an expected all-time high production of rice in the Boro season that ended just two months back.
Meanwhile, loose soybean oil prices jumped to Tk 140-Tk 142 per litre while super palm to Tk 132-Tk 135 a litre---a Tk 5.0 hike per litre in a week.
Bottled soybean oil was static at its previous high of Tk 149-153 per litre while soybean in a five-litre jar was trading at Tk 720-730 yesterday.
Broiler chicken price further increased by Tk 5.0-10 per kg as was sold at Tk 145-155 a kg in the city on the day.
Sonali and Pakistani chicken prices witnessed Tk 20 a kg hike and were sold at Tk 270-300 per kg on Thursday.
Sugar was selling at Tk 78-82 (loose) and Tk 84-88 (packet) per kilogram despite the fact that the government fixed maximum retail prices of the sweetener at Tk 74-75 a kg on September 9.
Fish, beef, pulses, egg, vegetables and other essential commodities' prices remained unchanged in the week maintaining their previous highs.
Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) vice president S M Nazer Hossain said the recent price hike in commodities like rice, cooking oil, sugar, meat, fish and other essentials have augmented woes of low- and middle-income segment of the society and the poor.
He said the fact that a long queue of people at the rear side of an open market sale (OMS) truck of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) is the manifestation of actual condition of common people amid the soaring prices of essentials during the pandemic.
The government should remove import duties on import dependent products like sugar, oil as well as should expand its market monitoring to help arrest the price hike of the essential items, he said.
He also said that the commerce ministry should take immediate action to ensure that sugar is sold at rates fixed by the government a week back.