Potato prices have started to decline just two days after the government reset the rates. Though the retail price of the starchy tuber is still higher than the usual, wholesale price dropped by Tk5-10 per kg Thursday.
This correspondent visited several kitchen markets in the capital and found that customers were being charged Tk40-45 per kilogram of potato, versus Tk45-50 two days ago.
According to state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), even the reduced price is around 89% higher than what it was at the same time last year.
In the meantime, Potatoes are now Tk30-35 per kg in wholesale, compared to previous prices of Tk39-42.
Customers said that though the government reset potato prices for the second time on Tuesday, the market had yet to calm down. According to the government rates, the tuber is supposed to be retailed at Tk35 per kg, while the wholesale and cold storage rates are Tk30 and Tk27 respectively.
"Potato prices have started to calm down, and the wholesale rate is likely to drop to Tk30 per kg soon," Mohammad Hafiz -- a Karwanbazar potato seller – told The Business Standard.
However, Dhaka's Shyambazar wholesalers were already selling the vegetable at Tk30 Thursday. Retailers said they could not reduce the price as they had bought those at an already inflated rate. The retail market would normalise soon if the downtrend in wholesale continued.
Dhaka's Rampura grocer Arif said, "It will take a couple of days to sell the potatoes I bought earlier. If I can buy them at a lower price, then I will be able to sell them at a lower rate too."
To rein in soaring potato prices, TCB kicked off the open-market sale of the item at Tk25 per kg last Wednesday. Aside from potatoes, the Trading Corporation is now selling onions, soybean oil, lentil and sugar at lower rates than the inflated market prices.
Consumers from low-income groups queue for hours at TCB sales points in Dhaka to buy these essentials.
Although the potato market shows signs of calming down, onion prices are still high. Locally grown onions were selling at Tk85-90 per kg, while the imported variety was priced at Tk75-80 per kg on Thursday.
Edible oil prices reduce at mill gate
After a meeting with Commerce Minister, Tipu Munshi, edible oil traders Thursday announced a Tk2 per kg reduction of both palm oil and soybean oil prices at the mill gates.
The Minister said that the traders had made the announcement in light of the rising edible oil market, and the new prices will be effective immediately.
According to the new rates, loose soybean oil will be Tk90 per liter, while palm oil will be priced at Tk80 per liter at mill gates.
According to TCB market monitoring data, soybean and palm oil are now retailing at Tk95-97 and Tk82-84 per litre.
After another meeting Thursday, Tipu Munshi told the press that Bangladesh-India border markets are gaining in popularity, and three such markets are all set to launch soon.