The prices of edible oil both at the wholesale and retail markets in the port city have been on the rise for the last three weeks, putting an extra burden on consumers already distraught by the spiralling prices of other food items including vegetables.
Traders pinned the price hike on an upward trend in the global markets.
Prices of soybean oil at Khatunganj wholesale hub in the port city gradually rose by Tk 150 per maund (37.3 kilograms) in the last three weeks to Tk 3,150 now.
The wholesale prices of palm oil have been steady for the last few days, seesawing between Tk 2,620 and Tk 2,630 per maund. But wholesalers hinted that the prices may shoot up as international markets have been on an upward trajectory of late.
“The prices of edible oil rose in the local market in line with the global market trends,” said Shahedul Islam, a wholesale trader.
Meanwhile, refiners have raised the retail prices of different brands of edible oil by Tk 3 to Tk 4 during the same period, retailers said.
The retailers were found selling each five-litre container of Rupchanda-branded soybean oil at Tk 510 to Tk 515 against Tk 495 three weeks ago.
The same five-litre container of Teer brand was selling at Tk 495, up from Tk 475, while the price of Pushti brand rose to Tk 485 from Tk 470.
“We cannot but charge higher since the refiners have raised the prices in the middle of this month,” said Rumi Ghosh, a retailer at Karnaphuli CDA Market.
She claimed the distributors of the branded edible oil suggested that the prices might rise further over the next few days.
“We have raised the prices on 20 August on the ground of a price spiral in the global market,” said Biswajit Saha, a director of City Group, one of the main importers and refiners.
He, however, refuted the possibility of a further price rise anytime soon.
According to the World Bank’s commodity price data, the monthly average price of soybean oil reached $821 per tonne in the international market in July from $752 in the previous month.
The monthly average price of palm oil increased to $694 a tonne in July from $652 in June.
The prices of soybean oil have now reached $830-$840 per tonne in the global market, while palm oil prices range from $720 to $750 a tonne, according to Saha.