The prices of essential commodities like rice, eggs, broiler chicken, sugar and flour have gone up in the capital's kitchen markets following Friday's fuel oil price hike, mounting more pressure on the already stressed consumers with limited income.
According to rice mill owners and wholesale traders of Dinajpur and Nilphamari, the rent of a 15-tonne truck for goods transportation to Dhaka has risen from TK15-16,000 to Tk22-24,000.
In addition, millers said they are not able to produce more rice due to recurrent load shedding. Hence, the wholesalers are not able to meet demand amid dwindling production.
Meanwhile, the millers have increased the prices of different rice varieties by Tk50-100 per 50kg sack citing increased production cost which has affected the Dhaka markets.
Md Sajib, a rice wholesaler in Karwan Bazar, told The Business Standard (TBS), "Prices of rice have increased at mill gates due to various reasons including production difficulties. We are also forced to hike prices due to additional transportation costs."
A 50kg sack of BR-28 rice variety is now selling for Tk2,600 (Tk52 per kg) in Karwan Bazar wholesale market, which was Tk2,450-2,500 last week. The price will rise further at the retail level.
In the Badsha Rice Agency in Karwan Bazar, the best quality Nazirshail variety rice was selling for Tk78 per kg wholesale, while the retail price is Tk82-83. The prices of various coarse rice are selling for Tk52-53, up by Tk2-3.
Arifur Rahman, who came to buy rice in Karwan Bazar, said, "It is difficult to get Miniket variety rice below Tk70. I gave up and started eating cheap rice. Today, I bought BR-28 variety, but that too got costlier."
Apart from rice, the price of broiler chicken has increased from Tk155-160 to Tk175 per kg in the Dhaka markets. A dozen of eggs are selling for Tk135-140 per dozen, up from Tk120.
Md Masum, a chicken trader in Tejgaon, told TBS that most of the broiler chickens in Tejgaon come from the northern part of the country. The transportation cost has risen to Tk25-27,000 per truck from the previous Tk20-22,000 due to the fuel oil price hike.
Mehdi Hasan, a private employee, told TBS, "The cost of living has increased to such an extent that it has become difficult to survive in Dhaka. For the last four months, I have been loaning Tk6-8,000 per month to run a family of five. But this month the loan amount will exceed Tk10,000. I am really struggling with the pressure of expenses."
The price of flour has also increased. In the wholesale market, the price rose by Tk200 to Tk2,180 per sack of flour. The effect of which has not yet hit the retail market, but within two days, the retail price will go up as well, the traders said.
According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), loose flour prices rose by Tk2-5 to Tk42-45 per kg in a week. The price will further increase at the retail level.
Meanwhile, in Khatunganj – the largest wholesale market in Chattogram, the prices of almost all commodity items have increased by Tk200-300 per maund (37.2 kg) in the last two days.
According to traders, importers have hiked the prices of all products in the market right after the announcement of the fuel oil price hike.
On Thursday, the price of palm oil per maund (40.90 litres) in Khatunganj was Tk4,800. Palm oil is selling for Tk5,100 on Monday.
Similarly, the price of soybean oil has also increased by Tk200 and selling for Tk7,000 per maund.
The prices of wheat and sugar have increased by Tk120 per maund (37.32 kg). At present, the average Indian wheat is being sold at Tk1,620 in the market, up from Tk1,500 at the end of last week.
On Thursday, sugar was selling for Tk2,860 per maund in the Khatunganj market, which was Tk2,960 on Monday.
Aman Ullah, a consumer goods trader and owner of M/S Aman Enterprises in Khatunganj, said, "The prices of consumer goods have been falling in the domestic market for the last one-and-a-half months due to the record price drop in the world market. At the wholesale level, the price of palm oil has come down from Tk7,000 to Tk4,500 per maund. But the massive price hike of fuel oil has made the consumer goods market volatile again."
Prices are falling in the global market
In the international market, the prices of consumer goods have started to decrease since the middle of May. Among them, the price of edible oil has decreased the most.
Palm oil was sold at $902 per tonne in the international market on Monday after a series of price declines. Earlier, the price of the commodity rose to a maximum of $1,945 in March after the start of the Russia-Ukraine war.
Soybean oil was sold at $1,405 per tonne in the international market on Monday. Earlier, the price of soybean oil rose to $1,761 per tonne in the second week of June, rising from the last week of February.
On February 24, the day the Russia-Ukraine conflict began, wheat was sold at $916 per tonne on the international market. After a day of steady gains, the commodity traded at $1,421 on 7 March in just two weeks. However, the wheat was sold for $767 per tonne in the global market on Monday.