After raising the price of soybean oil by Tk7 per litre on 19 October, edible oil traders want to increase the price again on the pretext of price hikes in international market.
Bangladesh Vegetable Oil Refiners and Vanaspati Manufacturers Association, an association of soybean and palm oil refining and marketing companies, has placed a proposal to the Ministry of Commerce for increasing the price of soybean oil by Tk12 per litre.
The mill owners' association has proposed to increase the price of a 1-litre bottle of soybean oil by Tk12 to Tk162 per litre, unbottled soybean oil to Tk148 and a 5-litre bottle by Tk60 to Tk820. At the same time, they have proposed to increase palm oil prices by Tk11 to Tk129 per litre.
Md Taslim Shahriar, assistant general manager (accounts) of Meghna Group, told TBS that oil prices are fluctuating in the international market. Even though the average price is lower than last month, traders are incurring a loss by selling oil at the current price.
Though the association said the proposed price hike is in line with the international market, an analysis of the international market shows that the price has not increased recently. The C&F price of one tonne of soybean oil was $1,440-1,460 in November, which was higher last October. A few days ago, the price suddenly went up to $1,470-80, but it went down quickly.
The Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission will scrutinise the proposal and then decide at a meeting of the National Pricing Committee whether to increase prices or not, say ministry sources.
Earlier, on 19 October, the ministry permitted an increase in the price of soybean oil by Tk7 per litre to Tk160.
In October, the price of bottled soybean oil was increased by Tk4. The traders at the time claimed that the price, which was reduced due to Covid-19 before Eid-ul-Fitr, was adjusted. Before this hike, the price was increased by Tk9 per litre.
According to Commerce Ministry data, there is a demand of two million tonnes of edible oil in the country every year, 95% of which is met through imports. The price of crude soybean oil in the international market has risen by more than 70% in one year.