18/09/2007 (The International News) - KARACHI: The edible oil wholesalers have got a free hand as they have all liberty to set prices of local and imported oils without any check and fear of the government.
During last week, they easily managed to raise prices of RBD palm oil and RBD palm olein to Rs2,860 for 40 kg from Rs2,720 and Rs2,710 in the Karachi wholesale market. The prices of local canola oil rose to Rs2,850, cottonseed oil to Rs2,750 and rapeseed oil to Rs3,300 in the Multan wholesale market from Rs2,780, Rs2,680 and Rs3,100 respectively.
Thus, a steep rise of Rs70 per maund in canola oil and cottonseed oil and Rs200 in rapeseed oil was recorded during the week without any substantial reasons. The importers of palm oil have blamed rising prices of the commodity in the Kuala Lumpur market, from where they import the oil.
However, a trader of edible oil in Karachi brushed aside the claim of the importers, saying the oil available in the local market was not purchased at prevailing prices. “They were all booked months ago at low prices to meet high demand of the commodity in Ramazan,” he said and added “now the importers are selling edible oil at higher prices matching those prevailing in the Kuala Lumpur market, thus minting a lot of money without any check on the part of the government.”
On the other hand, the prices of locally-produced edible oil have also been raised in line with those of the imported oil without any concrete reason. Traders had already bought entire stocks in advance and “now they are multiplying their money,” a market source revealed.
“There is no shortage of edible oil in the market,” he said and termed the price hike just manipulation. Four vessels MT Bow Vicking carrying 20,000 tonnes of palm oil, MT Victory Ocean carrying 15,000 tonnes of palm oil products, MT New Setokaze carrying 9,500 tonnes of palm oil and MT Pegasus-7 carrying 15,000 tonnes of palm oil have been in high seas. They are expected to reach Pakistan on September 18, September 19, September 22 and September 25 respectively. One vessel MT Bunga Melati-4 was being loaded with 20,000 tonnes of palm oil products for shipment to Pakistan.