Rabiul Haque The Russia-Ukraine war started on February 24 last year. Due to the impact of this war, the price of wheat suddenly increased more than twice in the world market.
At the same time, the price of wheat and flour doubled in the country’s market within a few months of the war. In April, the price of wheat in the world market increased to $495 per ton, which was $226 before the start of the war. Now the price of wheat in the world market has decreased to $223 per ton. That is, the difference between the world market wheat price during the war and the current price is $272. In that sense, it can be said that wheat is now being sold at the price of water in the world market. But the price of flour and flour is not decreasing in the country’s market, on the contrary, the buyer is sweating because of the high price.
According to the data analysis of the official marketing organization Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), even on the day of the Ukraine-Russia war, a kg of open flour was Tk 34 and a kg of open flour was Tk 46 in the country’s market. And a kg of packet flour was Tk 40, a kg of flour was Tk 52. After that, due to the increase in the price in the world market, the price increased step by step in the country in January of this year, open flour was Tk 60 per kg, flour was Tk 70 per kg. And in January, packet flour is Tk 70 per kg, flour is Tk 85. Although the price of wheat in the world market has fallen by more than half, open flour is still being sold at Tk 55, packet flour at Tk 70. Open flour is being sold at Tk 65 and packet flour at Tk 80 per kg.
However, the rate at which the price of wheat has fallen in the world market, the price of flour in the domestic market is expected to return to the pre-war level. But despite importing wheat at a low price, traders are selling flour at almost double the price.
Market analysts say that traders did not take any time to increase the price of flour in the domestic market when the prices were increasing in the world market. But now they are not looking at reducing the price. In this regard, the president of Consumers Association of Bangladesh Golam Rahman said in the light of time, the way wheat and flour traders are making profit now is completely unethical. Because now the price of wheat in the world market has returned to the price before the start of the Russia-Ukraine war. Naturally, the price of flour in the country’s market should return to the previous level. In reality, we cannot see any reflection of it in the market. Due to the greed of businessmen for high profits, even after the price of wheat has fallen in the world market, the consumers of the country are not getting the benefits.
According to the data analysis of US-based data portal Index Mundi, the price of wheat in the world market has been decreasing continuously for the last seven months. Last May, the price of wheat per ton in the world market was $367.74, in June it decreased by 6.06 percent to $345.50, in July the price was the same as in June. After that, it decreased further in August, $315.82, in September it decreased to $314.68, in October it decreased to $298.10, in November it decreased to $283.55 and last Saturday also $222.25 per ton of wheat was sold in the world market.
So, the price of wheat has decreased every month in the world market. Apart from this, due to the increase in the price of fuel due to the war, the fare of cargo ships also increased several times. It also affects the product. But now the ship fare in the world market has also decreased and has returned to the level of the pre-war period.
According to business sources, after the war, the ship fare increased from Tk 7 lakh to Tk 8 lakh and exceeded Tk 40 lakh. Now the ship fare has come down from Tk 40 lakh to Tk 7 lakh to Tk 8 lakh. However, in addition to the decrease in the price of wheat in the world market, even if the shipping fee has decreased, it has no effect on the flour market of the country.
Wheat importers and flour traders of the country say that despite the decrease in the price of wheat in the world market and decrease in shipping rates, the benefits are not met due to the abnormal increase in the value of the dollar in the country and due to the dollar crisis. Shafiul Islam, director of wheat importing company TK Group, said that due to the decrease in international market prices, we have slightly adjusted the prices of flour in the domestic market. But we do not understand why the price is not being reduced at the consumer level. However, the rate at which the price of wheat has fallen in the world market, cannot be reduced in the country’s market mainly due to the increase in the value of the dollar and the dollar crisis. Because now we have to open LC at Tk 122 to Tk 124 dollar rate. Apart from this, the LC can’t be opened at will. If there was no dollar crisis, the price of flour could have been further reduced in the country’s market.
Import and demand of wheat: According to the data of the Ministry of Food, the demand of wheat every year in the country is Tk 70 lakh to Tk 75 lakh tonnes. 85 percent of it is imported.
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