16/09/2007 (The International News), LAHORE - Edible oil prices in Pakistan are increasing at a time when Malaysian palm oil rates are on the decline and refined bleached deodorized palm olein rates dropping from a peak of $900 per tonne to $787 per tonne in August.
Ghee manufacturers have been increasing the price of edible oil since December last year on the plea that global rates of palm oil are on the rise. They have claimed in press conferences that the prices of top quality palm oil (olein) shot from $425 per tonne to $900 per tonne in May to June. The rates have since started declining and this can be confirmed from the website of Malaysian Palm Oil Board. The rates have not only declined but are on downward trend with quotes of $760 for November 2007 deliveries.
The manufacturers in fact are taking advantage of the loosening writ of the government on price control mechanism by increasing edible oil rates at will. Edible oil and ghee manufacturers have increased the rates of their five kilogramme branded packing by Rs 5 per kilogramme two weeks ago.
Palm Olien - the highest quality oil - is not the only variety that is being imported. The RBD palm oil that is cheaper is also imported in large quantities. Its price declined from $608 per tonne in April to $584 per tonne in August. The rates are on constant decline for future deliveries. The law mandates that the manufactures add 35 per cent soft oil (olien or Soyabean Oil or Canolla) in RBD Palm Oil before marketing it. This law is rarely followed given the lax implementation of food regulations in the country.
Some multinational companies and reputed local concerns follow the regulations but then their rates are Rs 10 per kilogramme higher than local brands. Many manufacturers are not even adding Vitamin A and D in their preparations but claim to do so as there is no check from regulators.
In fact, many so-called manufacturers just import low cost and low quality RBD Palm Oil and just fill it in smaller packing and charge the rate of RBD Palm Olien. Consumer rights associations have even lodged complaints again some products that did not even contain RBD Palm Oil but Palm Stearine that is basically meant for manufacture of soap or stearic acid. This practice accelerates during Ramazan when edible oil consumption jumps by 50 per cent.