INT’L PRICE FALL, DOLLAR DEPRECIATION
No reflection on essential commodity pricesMoinul Haque
The prices of import-oriented essential commodities are not decreasing on the local market despite the fall of their prices on the international market as well as the depreciation of the US dollar against the taka.
Importers say the consumers have to wait for opening of new letters of credit to reap the benefit of price fall on the international market and the depreciation of dollars.
The price of soyabean oil decreased up to 7 per cent on the international market in October and 4 per cent in November but no change of price on the local market was noticed.
Meanwhile, the dollar continued to fall against the taka, dropping to below Tk 80 mark last week from Tk 85 a few months ago.
The increased volume of remittances from abroad and the rising amount of foreign aid has led to growing availability of US dollars and bringing down its value against the taka.
But the prices of imported essential commodities like red lentil and maida (refined flour) are showing increasing trend on the local market.
The price of red lentil has increased abnormally on the local market in the last couple of week and was selling at Tk 140 to Tk 150 a kg.
Md Shafi Mahmud, president of Bangladesh Dal Babosayee Samity, an association of pulse traders, told New Age that the major portion of the demand for red lentil was met by imported goods as the local production capacity was very thin.
‘We meet the demand for lentil by importing it from Nepal, Canada and Australia and consumers prefer the variety of Nepali lentil for its better quality,’ he said.
Shafi said the price of Nepali-variety red lentil increased due to off-seasonal supply shortage in Nepal. The shortage will remain for two more months, he said.
He also said the prices of Canadian and Australian lentils were cheap on the local market and they were selling at Tk 70 to 80 a kg.
Shafi said it would take time more than one month to get the advantage of the depreciation of the US dollar against the taka.
The imported commodities that traders are selling now were imported at the previous rate of dollar; so the consumers have to wait for new letters of credit, he added.
According to indexmundi.com, a website providing detailed statistics of different countries, the price of soyabean oil fell on the international market by 7.70 per cent to $1,119.92 a tonne in October from $1213.30 a tonne in September.
In November, the price of soyabean oil fell by 4.30 per cent to $1,071.76 a tonne from $1,119.92 a tonne in October.
But consumers in Bangladesh could not gain any benefit of the decreasing international prices.
Unpacked soya bean and super palm oil were retailing at Tk 120 a kg and Tk 95 a kg respectively while each five-litre bottle of soya bean oil was selling at Tk 655 to Tk 665 on the local market.
Bishwajit Saha, general manager of City Group, which supplies flours and soyabean oil along with some other commodities on the market, told New Age on Monday that the commodities like soyabean and flour they were selling currently was imported three months ago when the international prices were higher.
The consumers will have to wait for around two months for decreasing prices until opening of new LCs, he added.
Bishwajit said that the prices of unpacked soyabean and palm oil has already decreased on the local market but packed soyabean will take time as they were closely observing and trying to know the bottom line of the decreasing price on the world market.
He also said that the prices of wheat were stable on the international market form August but recently the price of flour had increased a bit on the local market due to increasing seasonal demand for bakery products including winter and new year cakes.
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