Edible oil processors yesterday agreed to cut the prices of loose soybean and palm oil by Tk 2 per litre at mill gates to give some relief to consumers amid the rising prices of essential items.
The new mill gate rate of soybean oil would be Tk 90 per litre and palm oil Tk 80 a litre.
“Edible oil processors announced to cut the prices considering the current situation,” said Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi after a meeting with edible oil importers and processors at his office.
The new rate will be effective immediately.
The decision comes at a time when the soaring prices of essential commodities and vegetables are straining the wallets of consumers, especially the fixed and low-income groups and the poor.
From staple food rice, popular vegetable potato to key spice onion, the prices of most of the essential food items are now higher than a month ago.
Very few vegetable items are selling at below Tk 50 a kg in the kitchen markets in Dhaka.
The price of edible oil went up in the last one month as processors revised upwards the rates on the ground of the soaring prices in the international market.
Yesterday, the retail price of each litre loose soybean oil was Tk 92-97, up 4.4 per cent from Tk 88-93 a month ago, market prices data compiled by state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) showed.
Traders hiked the prices of palm oil by 7 per cent to Tk 82-84 a litre. Bottled or packaged soybean oil, consumed by relatively higher income groups, edged up slightly, according to the TCB.
The retail price of loose edible oil should go down by Tk 2 a litre in line with the cut in the mill gate rate, said Biswajit Saha, director for corporate and regulatory affairs at City Group, the leading commodity importer and processor in Bangladesh.
He said the price of bottled edible oil will remain unchanged.
“None would be allowed to sell bottled oil at higher than the maximum retail prices,” he said, adding that the government’s market monitoring team would monitor prices.
Loose or non-branded cooking oil accounts for 65 per cent of the edible oil consumption in Bangladesh.
A senior official of the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (BTTC) said the price of bottled edible oil would neither increase nor decrease.
He said both loose palm oil and soybean oil are sold in kilogram at the retail level.
“We had recommended for a price reduction in terms of kilogram, not in terms of litre,” he said.
Bangladesh annually requires 20 lakh tonnes of edible oil and it has to import 18 lakh tonnes as domestic production is negligible.
Imports of oilseed, crude soybean oil and palm olein rose 20 per cent year-on-year to 18.30 lakh tonnes in the fiscal year 2019-20 from 15.30 lakh tonnes a year ago, according to the BTTC.
Private importers and processors brought in 16.9 lakh tonnes in the fiscal year 2017-18.