Wheat prices have escalated by Tk100 per maund (37.32 kg) in the last one week in the country's main wholesale market at Khatunganj, which traders said has been done by importers by taking advantage of the import crisis.
Importers said the price of this essential commodity has been rising in the international market since the Russia-Ukraine war. The imports further declined after the Indian government put an embargo on wheat imports.
They said as efforts are being taken to import wheat from different countries, including Russia, there is no fear of a further increase in the price.
In Khatunganj, wheat imported from India sold at Tk1,650 per maund on Thursday which was Tk1,550 on Saturday. Last week, Canadian wheat sold at Tk2,050 which moved up to Tk2,150 on Thursday.
Wheat traders in Khatunganj said wheat prices had nearly doubled since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war. Until mid-February this year, the price of good quality wheat was below Tk1,050, which sells at Tk2,150 at present. Similarly, Indian wheat which sold below Tk900 now sells at Tk1,650.
Although the international wheat market has been volatile since February, wheat prices have been on a downward trend since mid-May, but the price of the product in the domestic market has not decreased rather increased.
Azizul Hoque, a wheat trader from Khatunganj, said that the country's importers have syndicated and increased the price of the product. The prices would come under control if wheat prices were adjusted at the wholesale level after import.
However, wheat importer Alamgir Parvez said there was an import crisis compared to the country's wheat demand. Wheat imported after India's ban on wheat exports has cost almost twice as much as before. As a result, the price of the product is still rising as the product was bought at a higher price.
The importer said that the government is trying to import wheat from Russia and some other countries in the G2G system, and if the result is positive it will play a role in controlling the market.
Md Nasir Uddin, Deputy Director, Plant Quarantine Centre (Chittagong Sea Port), said that 34,34,905 tonnes have been imported through Chittagong Port from 1 July to 16 May of 2021-22 fiscal year. After that, no wheat was imported through Chittagong port for more than a month.
In the last financial year (2020-2021), the amount of wheat imported into the country was 48 lakh tonnes, which was 60 million tonnes in the 2019-20 financial year.
Russia has offered to export 3,00,000 tonnes of wheat to Bangladesh. Bangladesh has agreed to the proposal. A virtual meeting between the two sides was held on Thursday. The two sides will reach a final decision on wheat prices and delivery time at their next meeting on 4 July.