Despite the volatile prices in the world market, the traders have brought more products than the demand of Ramadan. As a result, there is no concern about supply at present. After Shabe Barat, the fear of price increase due to selling pressure in the wholesale market has also been temporarily allayed. Traders say restrictions on hotels, restaurants and social events have reduced demand to prevent coronary heart disease.
Last Saturday and Sunday, the prices of Ramadan products decreased in Khatunganj, the largest wholesale market in the country. Prices of oil, sugar, gram and pea have come down from Rs 1 to Rs 5 per kg. Sugar prices rose slightly on Monday but were lower than last week. However, the impact of the sudden drop in prices has not yet reached retail. Traders said it could take up to a week for the wholesale market to take effect in retail.
Meanwhile, as the corona infection started to increase, the trade in Khatunganj was reduced. The price was further reduced on Saturday morning with the announcement of the ban. Fearing that prices may fall further, traders are releasing the goods without holding them. This has increased the selling pressure rather than buying in the wholesale market. As a result, prices also fell.
Abul Bashar Chowdhury, chairman of BSM Group in Chittagong, a major importer of daily necessities, told Prothom Alo that sales of goods increased in Khatunganj before Ramadan. This time it did not happen. Such a situation has never been seen in the wholesale market before. As the prices of most products are lower than in other years, so are the transactions.
The price of gram and pea is coming down
The gram now being sold in the wholesale market at Rs 55-60 per kg was Rs 60-62 a week ago. The price of gram has come down from two to five rupees. Besides, the import of gram is more than the demand. In the last three months, traders have brought 1 lakh 64 thousand tons of gram through Chittagong port. The price of pea pulses has come down from Tk 40 per kg and is now being sold at Tk 38.50. Import of these two types of pulses is also good in the country. In the last 3 months, traders have brought 3 lakh 42 thousand tons of gram and pea pulses.
President of Khatunganj Pulses Traders Association Sanjay Dev told Prothom Alo that despite the increase in prices in the world market, imports have increased in the country. But the demand did not increase that way. So the price of pulses in the market is low.
Record imports, cheap dates
Although the prices of all products have gone up in the world market, this time the exception is dates. Due to the corona, Hajj and Umrah were performed in a limited manner and the sale of dates in Saudi Arabia was low. So the price of dates fell in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.
According to Chittagong Customs, this time all the records of date import have been broken. Until then, the highest record of date import was in 2016-17 financial year. That year, 63,000 tons of dates were imported. This time 64 thousand tons have been imported in 9 months of the financial year. Of this, 45,000 tons have been imported in the last 3 months.
Azwa dates are being sold at Rs 300 per kg in the wholesale market, which was Rs 1,500 a year ago. Zahidi dates from Iraq are the most popular. It is being sold at 75 rupees per kg.
According to a report by the World Bank, the price of sugar in the world market has decreased by 5 and a half percent in the last month. Last month, the average price of soybean oil rose to 83 a tonne, or 4 percent. Despite rising average prices, soybean oil prices have been declining since late last month.
Soybean oil prices are also falling in the wholesale market Khatunganj. Open soybean is being sold at Tk 120-121 per kg less than Tk 123. There is no good news for those who buy bottled soybeans even though prices have come down in the wholesale market. Because, bottled soybean is being sold at 140 rupees per liter.
With the reduction in the price in the world market, the price of sugar has also come down in the country. Sugar worth Tk 84 was sold at Tk 72 in Khatunganj on Sunday.
CPD research director Khandaker Golam Moazzem told Prothom Alo that demand for rosary products would normally be low during government restrictions on movement. If the time limit for this restriction is extended, traders will also want to give up their products. In the current situation, the market may not need much surveillance this time.