Prices of consumer goods have been rising for two and a half months since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war in late February.
The upward trend has continued even after Ramadan at Khatunganj, the country's largest wholesale market for consumer goods.
The prices of such imported consumer goods as edible oil, wheat, pulses and mustard have gone up the most. Importers and traders say prices of consumer goods have continued to rise in the wake of the recent supply crisis and disruption of the supply chain due to the war in Europe.
Sekandar Hossain, proprietor of Messrs Ishaq Saudagar, a consumer goods trader at Khatunganj, said prices of some consumer goods have gone up one more point in the last two to three days after Ramadan.
"Earlier, prices of most consumer goods had risen since owing to the Russia-Ukraine war. Importers have to pay extra every time they buy a new consignment of consumer goods. As a result, we are also forced to sell products at higher prices," he added.
The trader said if the price of a product increases by 10% in the international market, importers raise its price by 20% in the domestic market through syndication. This is creating an unstable environment in the market. Commodity prices have risen around 20-40% since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war in late February this year.
Abul Bashar Chowdhury, chairman of BSM Group, a consumer goods importer, said that for almost every consumer product price has been on the rise in the international market for the last one-and-a-half years due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Russia-Ukraine war has created a new crisis in the consumer goods market. Prices of edible oil, wheat, maize, mustard and pulses have been on the rise.
In the last two and a half months since war between Russia and Ukraine erupted, the booking price of each consumer product has increased by at least 10-30% in the international market. As a result, the prices of consumer goods are also increasing in the domestic market, he added.
In Khatunganj, the prices of essential commodities such as edible oil, wheat and pulses have risen to record levels in the last two and a half months. During this period, the market price of wheat per maund (37.32kg) has increased by Tk290 to Tk1,350. On the day before the war began on 24 February, it was selling for just Tk1,060.
At the same time, soybean oil sold for Tk7,500 per maund (40.90 litres), a jump from Tk6,300 before the war.
Palm oil, which was only Tk5,300 before the war, is currently selling for Tk7,000 per maund.
Since the war began, prices of most consumer goods have risen sharply in the last two and a half months, not just wheat and edible oil.
At the same time, the wholesale price of sugar has increased by Tk290 to Tk2,830 since 24 February while white pea has become costlier by Tk747 to reach Tk2,240.
During this time, the price of lentils imported from Canada and Australia has increased by Tk484 and is now selling for Tk3,470 per maund.
Consumer prices of mustard, imported from Ukraine, have risen sharply during this period. Two and a half months ago, the price of mustard was Tk2,650, but now it selling at Tk3,993.
At the same time, the price of maize imported from Russia has risen by around Tk480 per maund. In mid-February, the crop was sold at Tk1,120 per maund but now it is selling for Tk1,600.
In the last two and a half months, the price of peeled Chinese almonds has gone up by Tk785 per maund and now it is being sold at Tk5,450. At present, Indian cumin is selling for Tk14,100 per maund, an increase of Tk1,044.
Tariq Ahmed, director (operations) at TK Group, a major importer of consumer goods, said the Russia-Ukraine war has had a devastating effect on global consumer goods markets. Imports of wheat, maize and mustard from Ukraine and Russia have stopped. Indonesia has cut palm oil exports due to a supply crisis.
"Moreover, the international supply chain is also being disrupted due to the war. As a result, the price of almost every product has gone up in the international market. As a result, the prices of these products are increasing in the domestic market," he added.
Speaking on the upward price trend in the market, Mahbubul Alam, president of the Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the price of commodities has risen sharply due to the global production crisis caused by the pandemic. The market for consumer goods has been volatile for a long time due to rising fuel prices and increased freight rates. Meanwhile, the dollar has risen. The Russia-Ukraine war has added to the volatility.
"As a result, the price of almost every consumer product has gone up in the international and domestic markets over the last two and a half months," he added.
The business leader said if the Russia-Ukraine war does not end, there is no likelihood of the prices of commodities coming down anytime soon.