CHATTOGRAM, May 14: After remaining almost stable during Ramadan, onion market is getting unstable since the end of the holy month.
Both, consumers and traders said prices of the key cooking spice is heating up every day since the end of Eid-ul-Fitr holidays earlier this month.
While visiting different kitchen markets of the port city on Saturday, including Kazir Dewri, Karnaphuli Complex, Bahadderhat and Chawkbazar this correspondent noticed that prices of imported Indian onion increased by Tk 6-8 per kilogram on the day compared to that at the same markets on the Friday.
The onion, which was sold at Tk 38-40 per kg on Friday, was selling at Tk 42-45 on Saturday.
Sources said despite having a sufficient current stock of onion at the local market in the last few weeks, the key cooking ingredient got costlier significantly in the space of only a day.
Talking with this correspondent, Chairman of BSRM Group Abul Bashar Abu said, "Increase in the price of US dollar is the prime cause of price hike of some imported essentials.
Besides onion, soybean oil, rice, sugar and some other essentials also got pricier recently, importers said.
Contacted, General Secretary of Chaktai-Khatunganj Arothdar Samity (Chaktai-Khatunganj warehouse owners association Md Mohiuddin said "Increase in the rate of the dollar in the international market is influencing the local market. That's the main cause of the price hike (of commodities)."
Mohammed Idris, General Secretary of Chattogram Onion Importers Association, said that onion import from India was stopped last week. As a result, the price of the key cooking spice has gone up, he said.
Traders at the major local retail and wholesale markets said not only the onion price is getting volatile other commodities' markets also became turbulent recently.
Despite unloading of a huge amount of imported edible oil at the Chittagong seaport in the first week of the current month, the oil price is increasing at local markets every day, sources said.
The port customs house sources and importers said 59,044 metric tonnes (MT) of edible oil has reached Chittagong port early this month. But soybean oil is selling at the local market at Tk 195-200 per kg.
According to the notice of Bangladesh Vegetable Oil Refiners and Vanaspati Manufacturers Association, issued on May 4 last, the bottled soybean oil will now cost Tk 198 a litre, up from Tk 160. The price of a five-litre bottle containing soybean oil has been fixed at Tk 985. Unpacked or loose soybean oil price has been raised by Tk 40 to Tk 180 per litre. The mill owners increased prices of palm super oil too. They raised palm super oil price by Tk 42 to Tk 172 a litre.
Sources said, at present, per kilogram chicken is selling at Tk 180 which was Tk 160 earlier and beef is selling at Tk 750-800 a kilogram which was Tk 600-650 earlier.
Despite demonstrating the price list of essentials, including sugar, edible oil, onion, brinjal (begoon) and potato in front of their shops, retailers at different city markets were selling those commodities 2-5 Taka more than the rate displayed in the list.
Abul Kalam, a retailer at Kazirdewri market said, "We're not making a huge profit but selling one kilogram of those essentials only Tk 2-3 higher than the wholesale rates."
However, Shahnoor Akter, a housewife, alleged that supply of essentials was not inadequate at the local markets. "Those are available here. But the traders are hiking more prices," she said.
Kamrul Uddin, a school teacher said, "We cannot maintain our family due to rising prices of essentials."
The long queue in the rear part of TCB-run commodity carrying trucks is a regular scenario in the port city, locals said. Hundreds of middle-class people wait in long queues of TCB trucks regularly to buy essentials at subsidised rates because of the rising prices of essentials at the local markets which manifest the real economic conditions of the commoners, they added.
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