Commodity prices down as supplies up

Prices of some vegetables, onion, egg, soya bean oil, and green chilli have dropped in the capital’s kitchen markets due to an increased supply over the last few days.

Many essentials saw their prices go up for an increased demand ahead of Ramadan that started on July 21.

Traders at Karwan Bazar, a popular kitchen market in the capital, yesterday sold Indian onion for Tk 22-34 a kg, which was Tk 25-35 on the eve of Ramadan.

Four eggs were sold for Tk 33-34 which were Tk 34-35 a week back.

Prices of soya bean oil also fell. A five-litre bottle of cooking oil was sold for Tk 665-670 that was Tk 670-680 in the previous week.

Prices of gram dropped to Tk 82-85 a kg from Tk 90-100 a week ago.

Green chilli was sold for Tk 40-50 a kg, down from Tk 60-70 in the previous week.

Price of potato came down to Tk 22-24 a kg from Tk 25-30 a kg.

Cucumber was sold for Tk 20 a kg, which was Tk 30. Retailers charged Tk 30-40 for each kg of aubergine that was Tk 40-50 a week back.

However, prices of other vegetables remained unchanged.

To attract customers in Ramadan, many superstores have reduced the prices of vegetables such as cucumber and aubergine in their outlets across the capital.

“Unlike the first few days of Ramadan, there is a good supply of vegetables and other essentials now at Mohammadpur kitchen market,” said Khondoker Safiullah, a retired government official living in Mohammadpur.

“Prices have fallen a bit, but they are still high,” he told The Daily Star.

Prices of pulses, flour and garlic, however, went up further yesterday.

Nepali lentil was sold for Tk 115-Tk 120 a kg, which was Tk 112-115 a kg a week ago, said retailers.

Packed flour traded at Tk 44-48 a kg, which was 44-45 a week ago. Loose flour was sold for Tk 40-42 a kg, up from Tk 37-38 a week ago, show TCB data.

Prices of local garlic went up to Tk 50-55 a kg from Tk 40-50 a kg a week ago, according to state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) that compiles data on essentials prices every day.

Sugar price remained stable, thanks to the government’s intervention. Retailers sold the sweetener for Tk 55- 56 a kg.

Most superstores in the capital are offering discounts on many food items aiming at higher sales in Ramadan. They have slashed prices of many essentials up to 20 percent compared to the last week.

Leading superstore Agora sold each kg of cucumber for Tk 28, which was Tk 35 a week ago. It sold aubergine for Tk 36 a kg, down from Tk 40 a week ago.

“We are trying to keep the prices of essentials stable in Ramadan,” said Niaz Rahim, managing director of Rahimafrooz Superstores Ltd that operates Agora.

The brand was launching a promotional campaign to offer quality products to customers through sourcing directly from farmers, he says.

The company expects an increase in sales in Ramadan through the promotional campaign. It set a sales target of Tk 28 crore from its 10 outlets during Ramadan against an average monthly sale of Tk 20 crore, said Rahim.

Another superstore Shwapno slashed onion price by Tk 2 a kg and sold it for Tk 22 a kg.

“We are offering highly competitive prices, even lower than the market rates in some cases,” said Sabbir Hasan Nasir, executive director of ACI Logistics Ltd that runs Shwapno.

“We can provide items at lower prices because we buy them in bulk.”

The brand aims to touch a sales target of Tk 35 crore in August against its average monthly sale of Tk 25 crore.

Meena Bazar, another top superstore, has launched promotional campaign to attract more customers to its 16 outlets.

“A customer will enjoy special discounts on 400 products, including food, non-food and grocery items,” said Shaheen Khan, chief operating officer of Meena Bazar.