Sugar prices rise as Eid nears
Sugar prices edged up as retailers moved to build a good stock to cash in on a probable rise in demand ahead of the biggest religious festival, Eid-ul-Fitr.
The retail price of each kilogram of sugar scaled up by 3 percent to Tk 48-Tk 52 yesterday from Tk 47-Tk 50 a week ago, according to the daily retail price data by the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).
Traders said supply has fallen short of the recent spike in demand.
"Retailers have become active in buying sugar prior to Eid. It appears that everyone has come to buy ready refined sugar," said Abul Hashem, vice president of Bangladesh Sugar Merchants Association, a body of sugar wholesalers at Maulavibazar, Dhaka.
Traders said the wholesale price has started going up since Thursday, spurred by a rise in demand from the retailers.
Each maund (37.32 kilograms) was traded between Tk 1,720 and Tk 1,730 yesterday at the Maulavibazar wholesale market, up from below Tk 1,700 on Thursday, according to Hashem.
The latest spike came after more than 15 days when Ramadan began and consumption jumped.
Industry insiders estimate that the demand for sugar rises to nearly 5,000 tonnes a day during Ramadan from more than 3,000 tonnes other times.
"Supply does not keep pace with the rise in demand ahead of Eid," said Hashem.
The traders also linked the rise in prices to a reduction in supply by some sugar refiners. They also blamed the low supply on Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation.
The refiners claimed they did not cut daily supplies and are selling sugar at Tk 43 a kilogram at mill gates.
"We are delivering nearly 5,000 tonnes of sugar every day," said Golam Mostafa, secretary general of Bangladesh Sugar Refiners Association, a body of seven private refiners.
Mostafa Kamal, chairman and managing director of Meghna Group of Industries, said technical faults forced them to cut sugar refining during the last couple of days.
"We are delivering 1,000-1,200 tonnes of sugar a day after we faced some troubles in our factory. Before that, we refined 1,800 tonnes," said Kamal.
The refiners and traders suggested the government increase supply of sugar to the market through its agencies, such as TCB.