May 18, 2013 | 06:21 PM (BD Time)
18 May, 2013 Saturday
Price manipulation blamed
Edible oil market highly volatile
. Kazi Zahidul Hasan
Edible oil market across the country remained highly volatile despite a substantial fall in soyabean and palm oil prices during the last few months in the international market.
On Friday, per kg loose soyabean was sold between Tk 128 to Tk 130 and bottled soyaben between Tk 138 to Tk 140 in the city's kitchen market.
Per litre loose soyabean sold between Tk 124 to Tk 126 and bottled soyabean between Tk 134 to Tk 136 in the previous week.
Market sources said the same syndicate comprising 10 millers and importers are manipulating the market creating artificial crisis to make windfall profit during Ramzan.
They said, prices of loose soyaben oil increased by Tk 300-Tk 350 per mound during last week and per litre bottled soyaben Tk 5-Tk 6 in the wholesale markets including Moulvi Bazar in Dhaka and Khatunganj in Chittagong.
"Prices of edible oil specially soyabean turned volatile in the local market as millers squeezed supply to create artificial crisis," said an edible oil dealer at the city's Kawran Bazar market.
He added, supply side constrain is the main reason behind the unusual price hike of the commodity and millers stand behind the scene.
"Refiners have almost stopped supply of bottled soyaben during the last one month
and that created a supply side constrain," he added.
For an example, he said, millers are supplying 100 cartons of branded soyabean oil now against 800 cartons few days back.
Traders alleged that most of the millers including City Group, Meghna Group, Nurjahan Group, S Alam Group and Bnagladesh Edible Oil Company reduced their supply to the market.
They also alleged that a section of unscrupulous millers and wholesalers are now mixing a substantial quantity of a relatively low-priced palm oil with soyabean oil taking advantage of volatile market condition.
Soyaben was selling $1,134 per ton in May in the international market, showing an 8 per cent decline from previous month (April).
Presently, the country's demand for edible oil is around 14 lakh ton per year and its demands stands at 1.5 lakh ton during Ramzan.
Commerce Ministry sources said the present stock of the commodity in the country now stands at 2.0 lakh tons.
But, the wholesalers alleged that refiners of soyabean oil were failing to meet their demand and they are slowing the supply to create an unstable market situation.
"Edible oil prices continued to maintain upward trend following supply shortage in the market," Golam Mowla, a business leader of Moulvi Bazar wholesale market, told The New Nation on Friday.
They are not getting adequately supply of the commodity from the millers, and as a result, an unstable situation persists, he said.
Golam Mowla, however, urged the government to beef up market monitoring drive to rein in the edible oil prices.
Leading millers could not be reached for comment, because their cell phones remained switch off most of the time.
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