Hope for relief in Ramadan Oil downs to Tk 20 per kg
Ayub Ali from Ctg: The government’s announcement to reduce tariffs on a number of products, including oil, sugar and gram, has begun to have an impact on the market. Wholesale prices of commodities have started falling. Especially in Khatunganj, Chittagong, the second largest wholesale market for consumer goods in the country, prices of edible oil, gram, sugar and onion have started falling. Despite the fall in prices, there is still instability in the oil and sugar market. However, traders said that there is no fear of price increase during Ramadan. Rather, they have a hint of further reduction.
The price of these products in Khatunganj depends on the increase and decrease in the retail market price of the whole country. So, the common people can get some relief in the coming Ramadan as the prices start falling in the market.
Chhola is most in demand in Ramadan. The price of good quality gram has come down by Tk 2-3 per kg in Khatunganj during the week. However, lentil prices remained stable. According to importers, the annual demand for gram is around 2 lakh to 2 lakh 15 thousand tons. Of this, the demand for Ramadan alone is about 60,000 tons.
According to the data, about 140,000 tons of gram has been imported in the current financial year. Besides gram, about the same amount of peas have also been imported.
Ashutosh Mahajan, owner of Messrs Payal Traders, an importer from Khatunganj, told that Australian gram was sold at Tk 63 per kg last week but today (March 13) it is being sold at Tk 61-62. Thick lentils are being sold at Tk 90 per kg. The price of lentils was the same as last week. The trader said that there is sufficient stock of gram in the market. Even if it is sold at today’s (March 13) price, traders will not have to incur losses. Importers will suffer if it is less in wholesale.
However, good quality gram is still being sold at Tk 75-80 per kg in the retail market. The same is true of Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB). Last year, the same gram was sold for Tk 60-70.
Recently, the price of edible oil has gone up the most in the country. The government has already announced the withdrawal of 15 per cent VAT on daily commodities to curb the rise in prices. After this announcement, the price of palm oil started decreasing in Khatunganj. Soybean oil prices have also come down.
According to the data, the country has an annual demand of 2 million tons of edible oil. Almost all of which are import dependent. Although soybean oil is used in cooking, palm oil is also used in making processed foods. So, half of the total demand comes from palm oil.
Alamgir Parvez, owner of RM Enterprise in Khatunganj, told that the government has announced withdrawal of VAT on edible oil. So, the price is also coming down. Millers (importers) also have adequate stocks of edible oil. Now the market will stabilize if the miller’s supply.
He said the price of palm oil in Khatunganj has come down by Tk 600 to Tk 800 per ounce in a week since the government’s announcement. Where last week the price was Tk 5,900 per ounce, on Sunday the price was below Tk 5,200.
Sugar is one of the most sought-after items in Ramadan. The price of this daily commodity has also come down in the market of Khatunganj during the week.
According to the traders of Khatunganj, the demand for sugar in the country is around 16 lakh tons per year. The condition of state-owned sugar mills is very fragile. That is why the government relies on private sector calls to meet the demand. At present government mills are producing only 60,000 tons of sugar per year. The remaining sugar market is controlled by five privately owned industrial groups.
The rest of the supply comes from those five sugar refineries. The government has extended till May 15 the announcement of withdrawal of supplementary duty on sugar imports to control the sugar market ahead of Ramadan. According to the announcement, the importers will have to pay 20 percent supplementary duty on imports reduced from 30 percent.
Meanwhile, the price of sugar like edible oil and gram has also come down by around Tk 100 per gram in the last one week. Sirajul Islam, a DO trader from Khatunganj, said the price of sugar was Tk 2,720-2,830 per ounce last week. But on Sunday (March 13) the price was Tk 2620-2630.
He said the palm oil and sugar market declined in the morning and rose again in the afternoon. Not staying stable. However, the price of sugar has come down by Tk 100 in a week.
Besides, the prices of onion and garlic have also started falling in the wholesale markets of Khatunganj and Chaktai. The supply of onions is high especially in the country and in India due to the season. At present, onions are coming from India and Myanmar. Both borders are open. The price of onion is falling sharply. The price of Indian onion has come down by Tk 2-3 per kg in a week. The price of garlic imported from China has also come down.
Haji Abul Bashar, owner of Bashar & Sons, an onion-garlic warehouse trader in Chaktai told that Indian onions were sold at a wholesale price of Tk 32-33 per kg on Sunday. Today it is being sold at Tk 28-30 at the border. A long line of onion trucks has been formed to cross the border. Onion prices may fall further in the future.
“It’s onion season now,” he said. If the price falls below Tk 25, the farmer will suffer. Garlic prices are also falling. Importers are suffering. In one week, it has decreased by Tk 5-10 per kg. Now China garlic is being sold at Tk 95-100 per kg. Domestic garlic is also being sold at Tk 15-20 per kg.
Regarding the overall situation, Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Chittagong division president SM Nazer Hossain told that it is good news that the prices of consumer goods are falling in the market. Basically, the market needs administration monitoring all year round. But since the government cannot monitor the market at all times of the year under the pressure of traders, unscrupulous traders take the opportunity to increase the price of goods. Now the government should increase market monitoring ahead of Ramadan. It will bring some relief to the common people.