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 Nur Aisha Abd Wahab
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 The Daily Star
 Edible oil prices on the rise

The Daily Star (30/12/2020) - Local consumers now have to spend more on edible oil as prices are rising in the international market almost every week due to decreased production in exporting countries, weakening of supply chain and stockpiling amid the pandemic.

Retailers say soybean oil prices in the domestic market have increased by anywhere from Tk 10 to Tk 15 per kilogramme the past month.

Now bottled ones are selling for Tk 115 to Tk 120 per kg while that sold loose for Tk 110 to Tk 112.

Retailers were found selling one litre containers of Rupchanda brand at Tk 120 to Tk 125 whereas it was Tk 110 a month ago.

In case of its five-litre containers, the prices now range from Tk 580 to Tk 590 against a former Tk 520. 

Similarly, the prices of one litre containers of Teer, Pushti and other brands have jumped to Tk 113 to Tk 120 against a previous Tk 100 to Tk 105. For five litres it has gone up to Tk 570 from Tk 510.

Anam Ahmed, a retailer at Hamzarbag Market in Chattogram city, said they were charging higher prices as the refiners had gradually done the same every week during the past few months.

"All the refiners have increased oil prices as well as reduced supplies owing to an import crisis and rising prices in the international market," he added. The same was said to have happened for wholesale prices of edible oil at Chattogram's Khatunganj, one of the country's largest wholesale commodity hubs. 

Soybean oil prices there rose by Tk 350 per maund (around 37.3 kg) to about Tk 4,180 to Tk 4,200. Similarly, palm oil now costs around Tk 3,600 to Tk 3,650 per maund, an increase of about Tk 275-Tk 300.

"The price of these products is higher as the supply of oil is less than the market demand," said wholesaler Abdur Rahman.

Soybean oil price has risen from Tk 3,100 in several phases to Tk 4,200 per maund in the last four months. Similarly, the price of palm oil has also increased from Tk 2,950 to Tk 3,650 per maund, he said.

The prices went up almost every week for a shortage, he added.

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

"The export-import chains are yet to normalise due to the coronavirus situation."

On the other hand, large countries, including China, are stockpiling edible oil amid the potential threat of a second wave of the virus in the winter, which could once again fuel the prices, he told The Daily Star. 

Read more at https://www.thedailystar.net/business/news/edible-oil-prices-the-rise-2019369

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