Consumer spending has increased significantly ahead of Ramadan. So as the prices of six key essentials have witnessed a rising trend. The six basic ingredients include rice, edible oil, sugar, chicken meat, milk and fish.
However, the prices of onion, date, chickpea and some other essentials might remain low or static this Ramadan compared to that of last year but vegetables might be pricier.
Prices of beef, mutton, brinjal, cucumber, puffed rice, coriander leaf, tomato and few other items might remain static this Ramadan compared to the previous year, according to market sources.
In the meantime, the consumer consortium requested the government to exempt import duty on basic items like edible oil and sugar and to step up market monitoring ahead of the fasting month.
Rice prices crossed the second highest this month. Coarse varieties are being retailed at Tk 48-Tk 52, medium at Tk 56-Tk 60 and finer at Tk 66-Tk 82 per kilogram, according to Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) and market insiders.
TCB said, the current prices were 4.0-8.0 per cent higher than that of last year.
Cooking oil prices increased sharply as the cost of soybean oil reached maximum Tk 160 a litre because many companies started supplying quarter-litre bottle at Tk 40.
At present, the price of one-litre soybean jar was Tk 137-Tk 139 and half-litre Tk 70-Tk 72.
The price of palm oil, the key edible oil for commoners, jumped up to Tk 110-Tk 116 a litre while loose soybean oil to Tk 126-Tk 130 a litre in recent times. The increasing price trend shows 30-46 per cent higher price than the corresponding period of last year.
Again, sugar prices hit Tk 72-Tk 78 a kg at retail level in the March-April period which was Tk 64-Tk 72 a kg during Ramadan last year. The government has increased the sugar price by Tk 3 per kg ahead of the upcoming holy month of Ramadan.
As per the new price chart, the BSFIC will sell sugar at Tk 68 per kg which was Tk 65 per kg, while non-packed/loose sugar at the mill gate will be sold at Tk 63 instead of previous Tk 60.
Broiler chicken prices also shot up to Tk 165-Tk 170 a kg while Sonali/Pakistani to Tk 300-Tk 340 a kg, indicating a 35-40 per cent higher than that of a year ago.
Pasteurized liquid milk prices increased by 8.0-25 per cent in a month as one litre of milk was retailing at Tk 75 while quarter litre at Tk 25. Besides, prices of half-litre milk packs had increased to Tk 40 from Tk 35 earlier.
Powdered milk prices also increased by 8.0-10 per cent in the last one month.
Prices of fish, both cultured and indigenous, increased by 10-18 per cent in a month amid the imposition of a fishing ban on major sanctuaries by the government under its hilsa conservation programme, said traders.
According to kitchen market sources, prices of cultured fish like pangas, rui, tilapia and koi went by Tk 30-Tk 40 a kg during the ban period.
Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) vice-president SM Nazer Hossain said commoners were hit hard by skyrocketing prices of six key commodities.
Mr Hossain said now there was nearly 60 per cent import duties on sugar while 19 per cent on edible oil. The National Board of Revenue (NBR) should review it as edible oil prices had increased by 50 per cent to 60 per cent in the international market since May 2020.
He further said sugar prices had increased by 50-55 per cent in the global market during this period. Mr Hossain also called for strengthening market monitoring to prevent any artificial price hike.
Meanwhile, the Department of Agricultural Marketing has fixed the price of the daily commodities ahead of upcoming holy month.
According to the fixed price rate, the price of onion will be Tk 40 per kg, while sugar will be Tk 67 per kg, and soybean oil will be 139 per liter.