Edible oil still pricey
There is a new problem in Bangladesh's edible oil market but as always, the consumers end up being the sufferers.
The price of edible oil has dropped at the wholesalers' level on the back of a slide in prices in the global market. But because of the rate fixed by the government, the retailers are still selling the products at higher prices.
Soybean oil is now selling at around Tk 160 a litre and palm oil at Tk 129-131 at Chattogram's Khatunganj and Dhaka's Moulvibazar wholesale markets.
But at the retail level, loose soybean oil is selling at Tk 180 a litre and palm oil at Tk 158, which are the rates fixed by the government on June 26.
Between June 1 and July 1, soybean oil prices dropped 24.6 percent in the international market. On July 1, it was trading at $1,448 per tonne, according to IndexMundi.
Similarly, the palm oil price dropped 26.5 percent in that period. On July 1, it traded at $4,886 a tonne.
"The prices need to be adjusted in the local market considering the prices are falling in the world market," said Md Mohiuddin, owner of Shah Amanat Traders of Khatunganj wholesale market.
Although the wholesale prices have come down by Tk 200 to Tk 300 per maund in one week, it is not having any impact on the retail market due to the government-fixed price, he added.
Using the excuse of higher prices in the international market, traders have raised the prices several times in the last three months, said SM Nazer Hossain, vice president of Consumers Association of Bangladesh.
"Now, when the reverse is true, they are not changing the prices. It is unfortunate for us that the general public is not getting the benefit of the lower prices in the international market," he added.
The price of soybean oil has not dropped in Bangladesh following the international price due to the weakening of the Bangladesh taka in recent weeks, said Taslim Shahriar, senior assistant general manager of Meghna Group of Industries.
According to the National Board of Revenue, more than 16.51 lakh tonnes of palm oil and soybean oil were imported between January and June through the Chattogram and Mongla ports by six refiners.
Bangladesh requires about 20 lakh tonnes of edible oil in a year, according to data from the commerce ministry. Only 2.03 lakh tonnes can be sourced from local producers, with the rest met through imports.