The price of edible oil has risen in local markets amid stockpiling by large economies owing to the potential threat of a second wave of the coronavirus and a rising cost of all products worldwide, according to market players.

Besides, edible oil prices have fluctuated over the past few months due to decreased production in exporting countries, weakening of the global supply chain and stockpiling amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The price of soybean oil at Khatunganj, a wholesale market in Chattogram, has increased by Tk 500 per maund (37.3 kilograms) to about Tk 3,650.

Similarly, palm oil now costs around Tk 3,250 to Tk 3,270 per maund, an increase of about Tk 450.

“The price of these products is higher as the supply of oil is less as per the market demand,” said Abdur Razzak, a wholesale trader in Khatunganj market.

The price of all types of oil went up by Tk 300 to Tk 500 per maund last month, he added.

Traders hinted that the price of edible oil might go up further in international markets.

The price of soybean oil globally stood at $970-980 per tonne yesterday, an increase of $230 per tonne from early August.

At the same time, the price of palm oil ballooned by $150 per tonne to $885 in international markets.

Most of the country’s demand for soybean oil is met through imports from Brazil and Argentina but the production in these countries has declined due to the pandemic, said Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, director of TK Group.

“Large countries, including China, are stockpiling edible oil amid the potential threat of a second wave of the virus in the upcoming winter, which could once again hike the prices,” he told The Daily Star.

The price of edible oil in the global market is increasing almost every day, according to City Group Director Biswajit Saha.

“While we booked soybean oil at $960 per tonne on Tuesday, it rose to $980 per tonne on Wednesday,” he said.

Over the last few months, the price of the key cooking ingredient has risen by about $200 in increments at international markets. The price may increase further and this could impact Bangladesh’s local market, Saha said.

He went on to say that in order to bring these prices under control, the government needs to be more flexible in tax collection and boosting imports.

“We are currently paying VAT to the government in four steps. We have requested the government to reduce it to a single-stage. It has not been implemented yet,” he added.

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