Friday, November 24, 2017

Rice prices still retailing over Tk 40 a kg despite wholesale price drop

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2017-07-14 23:38:06 BdST


Amid huge imports following a government initiative, a lower wholesale price has led to a drop in the price of the staple at retail, but that is still over Tk 40 per kg.

It has been nearly three weeks after the Eid-ul-Fitr since the announcement of imports had come to control the price hike and the first shipment of 20,000 tonnes of rice from Vietnam arrived at the Chittagong Port on Thursday.

By this time, the price of coarse rice in the retail market has dropped only Tk 5-6 to Tk 46 per kg. One year ago, this variety of rice cost Tk 30-34.

On Friday, visits to several retail markets in capital Dhaka revealed that no varieties of rice were being sold under Tk 42.

According to Department of Agriculture Marketing data, coarse rice was sold at Tk 40-42.5 per kg on Thursday in the wholesale market. At the retail level, Guti and Swarna were sold at Tk 42 and Tk 43, respectively.

But the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh or TCB data said the rate for these were between Tk 43 and 46 in Dhaka on Thursday, which a week ago was Tk 46-48 per kg.

Wholesaler Bashundhara Rice Agency's seller Salauddin at Babubazar told, "After the imported rice arrived, the syndicate dissolved and millers started to drop the prices slowly."

On Friday, he said Miniket was being sold at Tk 51-52 per kg, BR-28 at Tk 45-46, BR-29 at Tk 45, and coarse rice at Tk 39 per kg in their market.

Food Minister Qamrul Islam on Thursday claimed that the only reason behind the spiralling rice prices was stockpiling by rogue traders following the flash floods in the Haor areas.

He also announced that 16,000 rice millers have been blacklisted for hoarding in an effort to manipulate the prices.

North Badda's Sheikh Helal Uddin at Shikdar Rice Agency said they were selling a 50-kg sack of Miniket rice at Tk 2,600-2,620 and Najirshail at Tk 2,440-2,450.

A 50-kg sack of Indian coarse rice was being sold at Tk 2,160-2,180 and BR-28 at Tk 2,300, he added.

The same sacks of these types of rice had cost up to Tk 80 more during the Ramadan.

Helal Uddin, however, added the 'price drop in wholesale market did not impact the retail prices much'. "Because retailers are not even taking that drop into account."

On Friday, in Mohakhali kitchen market, traders were selling Miniket at Tk 55-56 per kg, Najirshail at Tk 52-60 and coarse rice (India's Swarna) at Tk 44-45 – a fall of up to Tk 6 in two weeks.

At Mohammadpur kitchen market, Miniket was being sold at Tk 55, Najirshail at Tk 55-62 and BR-28 at Tk 49-52 per kg, said Harun Rice Agency's salesperson Mizanur Rahman.

Coarse rice (Guti) was selling at Tk 42, he added. The price for this variety of rice was Tk 46 per kg at the most last month.

"There is no variety of rice that is being sold under Tk 42 a kg," Rahman said.

A retail trader at Karwan Bazar, Belal Hossain said prices of their fine grain rice have not gone down since the wholesale prices have not dropped much.

But he agreed over the fall on prices of coarse rice. "We think the prices would go down more if more rice is imported."

Flooding in the Haor or backswamp areas of the north and northeast earlier in the year and the resulting destruction of Boro crops had led to fluctuations in the rice market.

In response, the government later lowered import duties on rice from 28 percent to 10 percent before the Eid to encourage private traders to purchase more from abroad. It would seem that plan has started to work.

After the stock in government warehouses went horridly down recently, it was decided to import rice and take the stock up to 1.2 million metric tonnes by September.