• Thursday, Aug 22, 2019
  • Last Update : 03:03 pm

Commodity prices up, ahead of Ramadan, as usual

  • Published at 01:21 am April 21st, 2019
Essential commodities
File photo: Essential commodities,ranging from spices to lentils, at a kitchen market in Dhaka Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Consumers complained about the increase in the price of essentials, but saw the trend as usual, like every year, in the absence of any effective monitoring by government agencies

Prices of various commodities including lentil, chickpeas, sugar and fine grain rice have increased ahead of the Ramadan, to begin early next month.

Consumers complained about the increase in the price of essentials, but saw the trend as usual, like every year, in the absence of any effective monitoring by government agencies.

Retailers, however, saw rising demand before Ramadan as the reason for the price hikes.

Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Karwan Bazar trader Alamin Howlader, said: “We did not raise prices; we have to buy at higher prices, so we have to sell at higher prices.”

Upon visiting Karwan Bazar market in the capital on Saturday, it was found the price of lentils rose to Tk92-Tk100 per kg, up by Tk5-Tk10 from last week’s price of Tk86-Tk92 per kg. 

Chickpeas are very popular during the month of Ramadan. The price of chickpeas rose to Tk60-Tk70 per kg, up by Tk3-Tk5 since last week’s price of Tk56-Tk65Tk per kg. 

The price of sugar rose to Tk52-Tk58 per kg, up by Tk3-Tk5 since last week’s price of Tk47-Tk52 per kg. 

At the Hatirpool kitchen market, the price of fine grain rice rose to Tk85-Tk90 per kg, up by Tk5-Tk6 since last week’s price of Tk79-Tk80 per kg. 

However, according to TCB (Trading Corporation of Bangladesh) data, prices of these commodities did not increase much in the last one week. 

Traders blame sugar shortage for rising sugar prices.

According to Bangladesh Bank data, in the July- March 23 period of the ongoing 2018-19 fiscal year, letters of credit (LCs) were opened for 1.3 million tons of sugar import, during which time, LCs for 1.1 million tons were settled.

In the previous fiscal year, LCs for sugar imports were opened for 1.5 million tons, while LCs for 1.7 million tons were settled. 

Compared to the previous year, LC opening and settlement has decreased by 177,554 tons and 524,820 tons respectively. 

Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Abdul Alim, a commodities trader at Hatirpool kitchen market, said: “Supply is very low compared to the upcoming demand. Hence, prices have been progressively increasing since last week.”

After visiting several markets in the capital, dates were found to be sold at Tk240-1420 per kg. 5 liters of edible oil sold at Tk425-Tk460.

On the occasion of Ramadan, the state-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) will start selling commodities at a subsidized rate across the country on April 22, according to TCB.  

Under the programme, the TCB will sell 2,000-2,500 tons of edible oil, 2,000 tons of sugar, 1,000-1,100 tons of lentils, 1,500 tons of chickpeas, and 100 tons of dates.

Some 2,827 dealers will sell the commodities at 187 spots across the country with the goods loaded on trucks: 35 spots in the capital, 10 in Chattogram, five each in all the divisional cities, and one each at all district headquarters.

The TCB will sell the items to help low-income people deal with price hikes for daily essentials ahead of Ramadan. But the unit price of commodities is yet to be fixed by the government, said TCB officials.