Prices of essential commodities continued to rise on the wholesale kitchen markets in Chattogram city. Among these, the price of sugar has increased by Tk130 per maund (around 37 kilograms) at Khatunganj wholesale hub of the port city.
Traders alleged importers hiked the price of sugar despite a downward trend on the booking rate of the essential in international markets in recent times.
Visiting the Khatunganj wholesale market, sugar was found at higher rates compared to last month. Now, sugar is at Tk2,630 per mound which was at Tk2,500 last month. The price of sugar has risen by Tk130 in the last month.
Among the sugar of different companies, S Alam is selling sugar at Tk2,630 per maund, Meghna Group's Fresh brand at Tk2,630 and Citigroup's Igloo brand sugar at Tk2,625.
According to the wholesale sugar traders at Khatunganj, the price of sugar in the local market, including Khatunganj, has been on the rise for the last six months due to a rise in the booking rate at international markets. The price of sugar rises to Tk400 per mound during this time.
The price of sugar has spiked in the local market despite a decrease in the global market for the last one month, they added.
Abdur Razzak, the proprietor of M/s Ismail Traders, a wholesale sugar trader in Khatunganj, said, "Despite adequate storage against the demand, importers control the sugar price, making a syndicate. However, the price of sugar in the international market dropped by Tk200 per mound."
Mahmudul Hasan, the proprietor of M/s Hassan Traders, said, in the last two weeks, the price of sugar in the international market has dropped by two dollars. Two weeks ago, sugar was sold at $20 per maund in the international market. Adding import and refining costs of Tk560 per mound, the price of sugar was Tk2,259.
"At present, sugar is being sold at $18 per mound in the global market. Adding the cost of Tk560 per mound, the purchase price is now Tk2,090. With this, the price of sugar has dropped to Tk170 in two weeks," he added.
An importer Alamgir Parvez, the proprietor of M/s RM Enterprise at Khatunganj, said the price of the product may also fall in the local market in early February when sugar booked at a lower price hits the market.
Wholesale sugar traders say in the winter season demand for sugar naturally drops by about half. But, private companies are now controlling the sugar market at will as the state-owned companies' supply decreased.
At present, the cost of importing sugar is Tk2,090. But the importers are selling sugar at Tk2,630 making a profit of Tk540 which is very abnormal, the traders complained.
According to Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC) and TCB, the annual demand for sugar in the country is 15-17 lakh tonnes. About 7-8 % of the demand for sugar is met with the government supply. 15 state-owned companies supply only 1.5 lakh tonnes. Moreover, the government also import some sugar through TCB at different times. . The rest of the sugar supply comes from Imports by private companies.