Loose cooking oil has soared by Tk5-7 per kg in a month amid spiraling onion prices. The branded edible oil companies said they have neither tampered in the market nor have they any plan to raise the prices of their products.
Echoing the same, the Bangladesh Tariff Commission said there is no possibility of branded cooking oils going up in price now.
Wholesalers and retailers in the capital said per kilogram of loose soybean oil was sold for Tk85 on Wednesday, up by Tk5-7 from Tk78-80. Palm oil has soared by Tk5 in a month and is being sold for Tk70 per kilogram.
However, bottled soybean oil prices are the same, Tk100 to Tk110 per litre.
Karwan Bazar oil trader Abul Kashem told this correspondent that a hike in wholesale prices has increased retail prices.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Ali, a trader in Dhaka's Moulvibazar wholesale market, said turmoil in the international market has resulted in increased oil prices.
"Moreover, oil prices were raised because the booking rate for Letters of Credit were increased. Soybean and palm oil prices were hiked respectively by Tk200 and Tk330 per maund," said the wholesaler.
Data from the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh shows that the price of soybean oil jumped 2 percent while palm oil edged up 8 percent in one month. Traders said the price of edible oils have gone up at the international level, affecting the local markets.
However, the Tariff Commission says the international market price of soybean oil is stable. But the trade war between China and the United States has pumped up the price of palm oil. Malaysia is the main palm oil exporter to Bangladesh.
The current international market price for soybean oil is $671-680 per tonne. However, the palm oil price has gone up by $88 per tonne to reach $631 since July last.
Two local cooking oil companies recently proposed that the Tariff Commission should increase the price of bottled oil. The commission rejected it by saying that such a proposal should come from the association of edible oil refining and marketing companies.
"Then we will examine whether the price can be logically hiked," said the commission.
A meeting of edible oil producers and refiners was held at the commission on Wednesday. Representatives from top edible oil brands of Bangladesh, including City Group, Bashundhara Group, TK Group, Bangladesh Edible Oil and S Alam were present at the meeting.
The chairman of the Tariff Commission, Nur-Ur-Rahman, told the press after the meeting that companies have given an assurance that they will not raise the price of cooking oil. The executive director of City Group, Bishwajit Saha, said they do not control loose oil price and that he will not comment on the topic.
Onion prices calm down slightly
The price of onions have started dropping slowly at last. Wholesale and retail prices of red onions edged down by Tk10-15 in Dhaka on Wednesday.
The retail price of onions are Tk220-230 per kilogram, down from Tk220-240 on Tuesday. Meanwhile, imported Chinese, Turkish and Egyptian onions are being sold for Tk150-170.
Locally grown onions are being sold for Tk200-210 per kg at Karwan Bazar, down from Tk215-220 a day ago. A market wholesaler named Hafizur told The Business Standard that prices drop if the supply goes up.
The cooking staple was being sold for Tk220-230 at kitchen markets including those at Rampura, Segunbagicha and Farmgate.
As much as 580 tonnes of onions arrived at Chittagong Port on Tuesday. BSM Syndicate imported the consignment from China. Another importer brought in 116 tonnes of the bulb from Pakistan.
As much as 400 tonnes of onions were imported by the planeload and via the ports in the last couple of days.