The volatile market barely shows any sign of settling down, with ordinary consumers already reeling under commodity price hikes.
In the span of one week, beef, eggs, pulses, packaged whole wheat flour (atta), rice, and vegetables have seen a fresh surge in their prices in the capital.
While on visits to the kitchen markets of Moghbazar, Karwan Bazar, and Sonar Bangla Market at Roopnagar Residential area in the city on Friday, The Business Standard found that the price of beef increased by Tk50 a kilogram and that of one haali (4 pieces) of eggs increased by Tk3 when compared to the previous Friday.
All varieties of rice gained Tk2 a kg, while the price of a one-kg packet of atta soared by Tk5-6. The latest hike in atta price comes after the Indian government on 14 May imposed a ban on the export of wheat.
Ali Hossain, a seller at Yasin General Store at Karwan Bazar, told TBS that the newly arrived two-kg packets of flour are selling for Tk108, while those shipped in the previous week were selling for Tk95.
The price of rice has increased by Tk100 per 50-kg bag in the span of a week, he said, adding that the price of loose white sugar has increased by Tk3 a kg to stand at Tk85.
Ali Hossain also said he had bought a 25-kg bag of salt at a wholesale price of Tk705 previously, but the price has now increased to Tk775.
“All types of commodities are getting pricier. Because of the rise in the prices of the essentials, our sales also have dropped. The middle class and the poor are now buying less to cut costs.”
Tk50 rise in beef price
Last week, beef sold for Tk650 a kg. On Friday, it was selling for Tk700.
Hafizur Rahman, who sells beef at Sonar Bangla Market, said beef has become costlier as the prices of cows have increased. “Our profit margin is very low even if we sell beef for Tk700 per kg.”
He said his sales have dropped following the price hikes. “A month ago, I used to slaughter three cows on Friday, but the number has come down to one now.”
On Friday, mutton was selling for Tk1,000 a kg in the Sonar Bangla Market, but the price was Tk950 at Karwan Bazar.
The price of a haali of eggs in Sonar Bangla Market increased to Tk43 on Friday from Tk40 in the previous week.
Mohammad Hossain, an egg seller at the market, said egg price has increased as the item is short in supply compared to the demand.
Chicken prices remain the same as last week.
Yesterday, Sonali chickens were selling for Tk300-310 a kg, while local chickens were selling for Tk600 a kg. The price of broiler chickens was Tk160.
Rice prices rising gradually
At the retail level, the price of Miniket rice has increased by Tk3 to Tk68 a kg. On the other hand, Nazirshail rice was selling for Tk70 and BR-28 rice for Tk52 a kg on Friday.
Mohammad Khokon, a seller at the Siraj and Sons shop in Karwan Bazar, said the price of rice at the wholesale level has gone up by Tk150 per 50-kg bag in a week.
Asked why rice prices have become volatile even amid the peak season, he said “We the retailers have had to buy it at higher prices. So, we are selling it at higher prices. The authorities must investigate why the prices are rising at the miller level.”
Vegetables also becoming dearer
Prices of vegetables have gone up by Tk5 per kg in the market over the past week.
On Friday, tomatoes were selling for Tk80 per kg, pointed gourd for Tk60 a kg, cucumber for Tk60 a kg, and green chilli for Tk100 per kg.
Vegetable seller Noor Alam cited the flood situation in the country as the reason for the rise in vegetable prices. “Last week, I bought 5 kgs of pointed gourds for Tk160 at the wholesale level but now it costs Tk200.”
Mohammad Akhter, a private job holder, who came to Karwan Bazar, told TBS, “I come to this market as prices of goods are comparatively less here. But I see a dozen eggs are now selling for Tk120 here. No vegetable is available at less than Tk40 a kg.
“How will we survive? It costs about Tk1,000 to buy five litres of oil. How will we buy other essentials? The government must take steps to reduce the prices of essential commodities considering the state of low-income people.”