The commerce ministry has directed that bottled soybean oil be sold at a maximum of Tk124 per litre, after analysing the international market, but traders are not following this.
As a result, retail consumers are spending upto Tk135-140 to buy a one-litre bottle of soybean oil.
According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh's (TCB) market analysis, the price of bottled soybean oil has risen by 28.57% over the last month and the price of un-bottled soybean oil per litre has increased by about 24%.
Manufacturers and sellers are raising oil prices citing rising prices on the international market.
After analysing the international market – during a conference with traders last week – the Ministry of Commerce directed that soybean oil be sold at a maximum of Tk124 per litre. However, the traders have raised the price several times since then.
A report by the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Mission (BTTC) of the Ministry of Commerce has recommended that the price of un-bottled soybean oil be fixed at Tk109 per litre and bottled soybean oil at Tk124 per litre; the international market price of which has been fixed $920.
However, un-bottled soybean oil is being sold at a maximum of Tk116 and bottled soybean is being sold at Tk130-140.
According to the BTTC report, the price of soybean oil reached $1,200 per tonne on the international market in the last week of January. And the price of palm oil has reached $1,180.
According to the commission, the retail price will go up by Tk150 if this oil enters the local market. A year ago, the international market price of soybean oil was below $700 per ton.
Earlier, in mid-2012, the price of soybean oil rose to Tk135 in the local market, traders said.
Director of City Group, Bishwajit Saha, said, "The soybean oil market is dependent on imports. That is why if the price rises in the international market, it also affects the local market."
Traders said, in soybean-producing countries Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, the price of unrefined soybean oil has exceeded $1,150 per tonne. The supply crisis is occurring due to China buying and stockpiling excess oil.
The report had some recommendations to keep the prices in check. The report suggested reconsidering imposing tariffs on the import of oil; levying value-added tax of 15% on unrefined soybean oil and palm oil at a rate of 67.67%; and reassessing the production cost of oil bottles.