Not even a month has gone by yet edible oil refiners are again proposing hiking prices for the fourth time this year, reasoning it to be a ripple effect of international rates.

Currently, a one-litre bottle of soybean oil is sold at Tk 160. The proposal is for raising it by Tk 10.

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It was last increased by Tk 7 on October 19. Before that it was by Tk 4 on September 5.

The sole reduction this year was in July by Tk 4, but only after a Tk 9 raise on May 27.

Consumers are already feeling the pinch of rising costs of some basic commodities.

The refiners sent their latest proposal to the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (BTTC) on November 18. The BTTC forwarded it to the commerce ministry, said Abu Raihan Al Biruni, a member of the BTTC.

As per rules, the commerce ministry gives the final approval to prices fixed for some basic commodities such as edible oil and sugar.

Biruni said a decision may come on the next meeting on the issue, either on December 1 or December 2.

He, however, hinted that this time there could be a reduction as edible oil prices were gradually coming down in the international markers.

“The possibility of the price of edible oil being lowered is very high as the international market is still stable,” he told The Daily Star over the phone.

Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh said he was not well aware about the latest proposal.

Additional Secretary AHM Shafiquzzaman, who supervises the price fixation of basic commodities, said the ministry would need to first analyse the proposal.

Biswajit Saha, director for corporate and regulatory affairs of City Group, one of the top commodity processors in Bangladesh, said a new price would be fixed as per the decision of the government.

“The price of cooking oil in the international market has risen to $1,520 per tonne,” he said.

However, the closing price of soybean at international futures markets was $1,252.75 per tonne yesterday, up from $1,243.25 on October 26.

Imports have become a little bit costlier as the local currency has devalued against the US dollar, said importers.

Importers have to pay Tk 88 for every dollar, which was Tk 85 a few days back. “This is another reason behind the price hike,” said Saha.   

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