Difference huge in wholesale prices

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Prices vary by Tk 17-20/Kg between Dhaka, Ctg markets
Shamsuddin Illius, Ctg

Publication date: 24 December, 2017

Media: The Independent

Original URL: Difference huge in wholesale prices

E-paper URL: Difference huge in wholesale prices

There was a huge difference in the prices of onions with the imported Indian variety, which fetched Tk 45 per kg in the country’s largest wholesale market at Khatungonj in Chittagong but being sold for Tk 62 at Karwan Bazar wholesale market in the capital. At the same time, the imported Egyptian onion was selling in Chittagong for Tk 45-50 per kg, while it was sold at Tk 60-62 per kg in the capital wholesale market. In Dhaka, the new locally produced onion was found selling at Tk76 per kg. However, there was no local onion to be found in Chittagong’s wholesale market.

Traders said the bullish trend of the onion had started to dip from Wednesday after huge amounts of Indian onion started to enter the country.

The onion that had fetched Tk 65 on Wednesday was sold for Tk 60 on Thursday in Chittagong. The price further dipped to Tk 45 to Tk 48 per kg on Friday and yesterday, wholesalers said. Bolay Kumar Poddar, owner of Grameen Banijalay at Khatangonj, told The Independent: “The prices of onions have started to fall as the supply from India has increased rapidly. At the same time, the price has decreased in India. So, the reduced price of onions is expected to continue for some time.”

“The wholesalers in Chittagong, who tend to hoard onions, are selling their goods out of fear of further price decrease. This may have caused the difference in prices in Dhaka and Chittagong,” he added. However, the price of the wholesale market didn’t have an effect on retail markets.

Retailers were found selling per kg of onion at Tk 70-80 in both Dhaka and the Port City yesterday. Hazi Mohammad Idris, secretary of the Khatungonj Hamidullah Market Businessmen’s Welfare Samiti, said, “The imported Indian onion was being sold at Tk 45 to Tk 48 per kg at Khatungonj as against Tk 63 on Thursday. The imported Egyptian onion sold at Tk 48 per kg. In Chittagong, the locally produced onion is yet to enter the market.” “As the supply of imported onion has increased, the price has decreased here. The price of onion will be decrease further,” he added. Md Mokades Hossain, a whole seller at Karwan Bazar in Dhaka, yesterday said, “We sold the imported Indian onion at Tk 62 per kg yesterday, while the locally produced variety sold at Tk76 per kg. The price of the old local onion was slightly high than the new one.”

In Dhaka’s kitchen markets, the imported onion was being sold at Tk 70 to Tk 80 per kg, said traders and buyers. Rahmat Ullah Sobuz, a buyer, said, “I bought a kg of Indian onion for Tk 80 from the grocery shop at Kazirdewari. Though the local onion has started to enter the market, the price is yet to come down.”

Traders said low production of onion in India due to floods and tidal surge had increased the price in the wholesale markets here up to Tk 100 per kg in the past few months. But recently, the price of onion decreased dramatically in the Indian market, leading to a dip in the selling price. The letter of credit (LC) price of per tonne of onion was $271 in September, while it rose to $341 in October, according to the foreign exchange policy department of Bangladesh Bank (BB). Last year, the price of per tonne of onion was $112.

The commerce ministry has deployed 14 teams to monitor prices so that nobody can take undue advantage of the price hike of a particular commodity. A total of 3,060 LCs were opened between January and October for importing around eight lakh tonnes of onion, BB sources said. But the LC settlement during this period was 8.06 lakh tonnes, they added. The price of local onion has soared to Tk. 90-100 per kg in the city markets and the imported onion is being sold at Tk. 90-100 in November 2017, while the price of onion was Tk 45-50 per kg in the last year in the same time. Bangladesh has an annual demand of 23 to 24 lakh tonnes of onion, according to the government. Onion prices had jumped in Bangladesh after India raised minimum export prices to $700 (Tk 54,460) per tonne from $425 (Tk 33,065) in August 2015. Commerce ministry officials said they were trying to bring down the price of onion by importing from different sources.

Shamsuddin Illius
Shamsuddin Illius is a print and online media journalist. He has been working in the field (fulltime) of journalism since 2010. He is very much passionate about journalism since his early age. Currently he is the Bureau Chief-Chittagong at The Business Standard.

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