The country's biggest wholesale hub Khatunganj of Chattogram is selling sugar, one of the most consumed commodities, at Tk2,660 per maund (around 40 kilograms).
The price remained unchanged for a long time despite a downward trend in international markets in recent times. The global market saw a fall of $13 or Tk1,170 per tonne of sugar, to $513 on 16 November.
Market analysts say importers and traders hike the prices immediately after an increase in the global market, but they do not cut prices with the news of global fall.
Visiting the Katunganj wholesale market, sugar was found selling at much higher prices than imported costs.
With freight charge and duties, a maund of sugar was imported at Tk1,804 before 12 November, which is now selling at Tk2,660 in the wholesale market – Tk856 profit in each maund.
However, talking to the reporter, wholesale traders blame the supply crunch against the high demand for the item amid the ease of the pandemic.
"The price of sugar has been on the rise for the last 7-8 months and hit its highest of Tk2,850 per maund," said Ismail Hossain, a trader at the market.
Meanwhile, to keep the price at an affordable level, the National Board of Revenue cut the regulatory duties by 10% to 20%.
"As a result, the sugar market saw Tk200 drop in per maund price to Tk2,650-2,660," he added.
He said, "Importers control the sugar price, making a syndicate. Only Tk200 profit for a maund of sugar should be enough, but they make double or triple."
An importer Alamgir Parvez, proprietor of M/s RM Traders at the market, said sugar price remained volatile in the global market and was now on the decline.
It will take at least a month to feel the impact in the local market, he said.
Asked about Tk800-900 profit per maund sugar, he said the price did not only depend on the global market but also on local demand.
"Now sugar supply is short against the high demand," he added.
Meanwhile, sugar is at Tk75-80 per kg in retail.