Edible oil: prices fall on world markets, not at home

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Even though bulk palm oil and soybean oil prices have fallen in wholesale markets, consumers are unable to reap the benefits as retailers continue to sell them at government set prices. .

Yesterday, a liter of palm oil was being sold at Tk 12 less than the price set by the government at retail level and soybean oil at Tk 5 less, traders from Chattogram’s Khatunganj and Dhaka’s Moulvibazar said – the country’s two main wholesale markets.

They also said the drop was due to lower prices in the international market and the government should set its retail tariffs accordingly.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi recently said that edible oil prices will soon drop.

Importers, however, are against the reduction. They say they imported the products, now on the market, at higher prices.

In the wholesale market, bulk palm oil is now selling at 156-158 takas and soybean oil at 172-174 takas, traders said, adding that prices for both products have fallen in the market internationally over the past month.

Meanwhile, the government has fixed the wholesale price of bulk palm oil at 170 taka per liter and bulk soybean oil at 178 taka per litre. The retail price is Tk 2 per liter higher than those.

According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh, palm oil in bulk was sold between 175 and 182 Tk per litre, bulk soybean oil between 182 and 190 Tk and bottled soybean oil between 195 and 200 Tk on retail markets on Thursday.

Speaking to the Daily Star, Mohiuddin, owner of Shah Amanat Traders of Khatunganj Wholesale Market, said: “Bulk palm oil is sold at around Tk6,500 and bulk soybean oil at around Tk7. Tk 100 per maund. [40.9 litres] in wholesale markets.

He said prices must be adjusted in the domestic market according to those in the international market.

According to Market Insider, a fact and statistics portal, palm oil was sold at 7,757 Malaysian ringgits (MR) per tonne in the international market on April 27. It was sold at MR 6,754 per tonne on June 3 — a drop of MR 1,003 per tonne.

The drop in palm oil prices came as Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of palm oil, lifted its oil export ban on May 23.

Crude soybean oil prices rose from $1,880 per ton on April 27 to $1,790 on June 3.

Rafiqul Alam, a private employee who lives in the capital’s Mirpur, said that when the price of soybean oil goes up, traders say it will go down (in the domestic market) if it goes down in the international market. .

“It has now gone down in the world market. Yet businessmen say it is not possible for them to cut prices at the moment. Why? Who will answer this question?”

He added that while the prices of basic necessities were rising every week, people’s incomes were not. “It’s a difficult time for low-income people.”

Meanwhile, Rafiqul Islam, owner of the Bismillah store in the port city’s Hamzarbagh kitchen market, said: “We have to sell the cooking oil at the previous rate as we bought it. [the stocks of oil] A week ago.”

On Thursday, the trade minister said: “As in the international market, prices will also fall in local markets. We will make a decision [in this regard] shortly after looking at the May import data in about a week.”

Taslim Shahriar, Senior Deputy Managing Director of Meghna Group of Industries, said oil purchased two months ago is now arriving in the country.

He said: “If you buy now, the product will arrive in the country in August. Prices can only be reduced by then.

Shafiul Ather Taslim, Director of Finance and Operations at TK Group, said, “In view of the overall situation, we sent a letter to the Ministry of Commerce and the Tariff Commission last Wednesday, saying that prices need to be adjusted. in 15 days.

SM Nazer Hossain, vice president of the Bangladesh Consumers Association, said that although there is a law, prices go down and up according to the will of businessmen.

He said prices in the international market had come down, but not at the retail level in Bangladesh due to the government’s reliance on traders.

“When prices in the international market go up, they automatically go up in the retail market before the government can even adjust them. But when they go down [in the international market]it takes them time to come down [in the country’s retail market].”

According to the National Board of Revenue, six refiners imported more than 15.11 lakh tons of palm oil and soybean oil worth Tk 18,182 crore in five months till May this year through the ports of Chattogram and Mongla.

Some 78,557 tons of palm oil worth Tk 1,116.65 crore (with 5% import tax) and 57,557 tons of soybean oil worth Tk 957.29 crore Tk were imported last May, according to NBR data.

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