Staple rice, edible oil, sugar and pulses witnessed fresh hikes last week augmenting woes of the consumers, especially the commoners who had already dug deep into their pockets to meet as increased living expenditures triggered by rising costs of other essentials, including vegetables and key spices.
Prices of potato, a widely used veg, however, remained static at its previous high on Thursday when the retailers sold the yellow root tuber at Tk 45-50 per kilogram (kg), defying the government fixed rates.
Rice prices, especially that of medium and finer qualities, increased further by Tk 2.0-3.0 per kg in the past week.
Medium quality like Brridhan-28, 29 and Paijam were sold at Tk 54-57 per kg while finer quality Miniket at Tk 62-68 a kg, based on quality, on the day.
Najirshail, another finer quality rice, was sold at Tk 65-72 a kg.
Course varieties, including Swarna, BR-11, hybrids remained static at their previous high of Tk 46-50 a kg.
Traders attributed the price hike of the medium and finer qualities to shortage of those varieties during the off-season.
Palm oil, the key cooking oil of the low-income groups, increased by Tk 5.0-6.0 per kg in the last seven days as super palm oil was sold at Tk 94-97 a litre on the day.
This was the fifth time in the last two months that prices of the edible oil witnessed price hike, according to the grocers.
Loose soybean oil also showed a Tk 5.0 hike as was sold at Tk 104-106 a litre on the day.
The refiners have also hiked costs of the bottled soybean oil. The widely used bottled oil became dearer by Tk 5.0-Tk 6.0 per litre to Tk 115-120 in the week.
The refiners said they raised prices of edible oil following a series of price hikes in the global market over the last five months.
Sugar prices rose by Tk 5.0 a kg as loose form of the sweetener was sold at Tk 65-Tk 70 a kg on the day while branded packaged sugar at Tk 70-Tk 75, based on companies.
Lentil of medium and finer quality got dearer by Tk 10-Tk 15 a kg in the week as medium variety was sold at Tk 95-Tk 100 a kg while finer lentil, both local and Nepalese, were traded at Tk 120-130 a kg yesterday.
Mung bean prices also increased to Tk 140-150 a kg from Tk 130-Tk 140 a kg earlier.
Stored potatoes were retailed at Tk 43-Tk 50 a kg on the day defying government fixed maximum retail price of Tk 35 a kg.
Secretary of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan said most of the essentials’ prices have been increasing gradually for the last few months hitting hard the limited and lower-income segment of the society.
The government has almost failed to keep prices of commodities within the reach of the commoners, he viewed.
Strict market monitoring is needed especially in the rice, sugar and oil mills to prevent any artificial price hike of the essentials, he said.
Imports of such products should be eased by removing higher import taxes immediately, he said.
He mentioned that cold-storage owners and traders are not following the government rate of potato set by the government.
Potato traders at the cold storage level, who are defying the government rate (the cold storage level rate is Tk 27 a kg) should be grilled.
Meanwhile, prices of ginger, one of the key cooking ingredients, have also gone up notably. Imported Chinese ginger prices hit a record Tk 360-380 a kg on Thursday amid, what the retailers said, a supply crunch.
But the groceries and vendors had a plenty of local and imported Indian gingers which were traded at Tk 90-160 a kg.