a year ago

Seven essential items get pricier

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Seven key essential items showed a notable hike last week, augmenting woes of the consumers already in a fix amid skyrocketing prices of essential commodities.

Prices of beef, egg, indigenous chicken, edible oil, including palm and loose soybean oil, local spices like ginger, garlic, green chilli and onion, vegetables like long-yard bean, brinjal, bottle gourd and colocasia stem and pulses like lentil, showed a further hike between Tk 10 and Tk 50 a kg during the period.

Beef price, which showed a slight decline after the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrated on April 22, increased again and was sold at Tk 780-820 a kg in the city.

Ginger price hit an all-time high as its maximum retail price was Tk 360 a kg and lowest Tk 300 a kg on Thursday.

Green chilli was sold at Tk 150-180 a kg, marking Tk 60 a kg hike in seven days.

Onion and garlic also showed Tk 10-20 a kg hike. Onion was sold at Tk 65-75 a kg, marking a 23 per cent hike in a week, according to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).

Farm egg price increased to Tk 150-155 a dozen, marking a 5.0 per cent further hike in a week.

The vegetables mentioned earlier showed Tk 10-20 a kg further hike.

Long-yard beans were sold at Tk 90-110, colocasia stem Tk 80-100, and brinjal Tk 60-70 a kg.

Finer lentil price shot up to Tk 145-150 a kg from Tk 130-135 a kg.

Palm oil, soybean oil and sugar prices also showed a further hike as sold at much higher rates compared to the government fixed prices.

The palm oil price shot up to Tk 150 a litre against a fixed rate of Tk 135 while loose soybean hit Tk 190 a litre against the government rate of Tk 176.

Sugar market volatility continued despite the fixation of price on Wednesday by the government. The government fixed new rates for sugar on the day - Tk 120 for loose and Tk 125 for branded packet sugar.

But major groceries lacked necessary sugar on Thursday while its retail price was minimum Tk 140 a kg.

There is no visible monitoring in the market, encouraging traders to fix prices at their wish, said Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Secretary Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan.

He said the government took two weeks to reach a decision on sugar when the market became volatile.

Edible oil, especially loose form of palm oil and soybean oil, is being sold at Tk 10-15 a litre higher than that of the government fixed rate but the agencies concerned are hardly found in the market, he claimed.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, however, on Thursday said sugar market monitoring would be started from next week to ensure that consumers get it at the fixed rate.

He said according to the recommendation of the Tariff Commission, the Bangladesh Sugar Refiners Association and other businessmen have been informed to sell loose sugar at Tk 120 and packet sugar at Tk 125 a kg to consumers.

The Directorate of National Consumer Right Protection and the district administration will monitor the market to verify whether they are selling sugar at the fixed price or not, he said.

Asked on the recent hike of onion price, he said as domestic onion production is sufficient, imports are being discouraged.

But if the price continues to rise, initiatives will be taken to import onions from India, he then said.

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