Rice price: Impact of govt moves seeping into markets

07 Jul 2017, 23:32

Online Desk

Dhaka: The government's eased rice import policy allowing greater import by the private sector is just starting to have an impact on prices of different varieties of rice in the city.

As the week ended, average retail and wholesale prices of different varieties of rice in Dhaka city markets decreased slightly, down by Tk 1-2 per kg.

About 12,000 metric tonnes of rice reached wholesale and retail markets in Dhaka before and after Eid-ul Fitr. Besides, the price of the main food grain will decrease further when rice imported by the government will hit the market next week, said businessmen.

But now rice importers are observing the impact on the market situation following import by the government and price hike in the Indian market.

Sources concerned said the government has taken decision to import rice as its stocks fell short and failing to get expected supply from mill owners, reports news agency UNB.

To meet the shortfall this year, the Ministry of Food has invited tenders for importing 15 lakh tones rice. First part of the imported rice will arrive at Chittagong Port by July 10, sources said.

Besides, importers have an opportunity to import rice for easy import policy.

In Dhaka coarse rice, including miniket and paizam, was sold at Tk 54-56 per kg which was Tk 55-56 a week ago, Fine rice has been sold between Tk55-56 per kg which was Tk58-60 per kg a week ago. But the prices have remained unchanged in wholesale market.

Visiting the markets in the area on Thursday, the UNB correspondents found that coarse and medium-grain rice was trading at between Tk 47-50 per kg. Some traders said the same quality of rice was sold between Tk 48-50 one week ago.

Consumers bought a kg of coarse rice, including Swarna and China IRRI varieties of rice, between Tk 43 to 46 this week, which they could get between Tk 46 and Tk 48 one week ago at the rice markets in city. Prices of varieties of rice have decreased by Tk 100 to Tk 150 in 50 kgs sack.

Sources said to keep rice price reasonable in retail markets of the country, the government cut down the import duty of rice to 10 percent, from existing 25 percent on June 20. The 3 percent regulatory duty, which was set earlier, has also been lifted.

Prior to the cut, importers had to pay Tk 9,125 per tonne, now they have to pay Tk 3,225, importers told UNB, adding that when import duty was cut in Bangladesh, the price of rice increased by $30-40 in Indian market.

Meanwhile, according to Bhomra and Hili land ports, importers brought 11080 tonnes rice between June 23 and July 6.

Kawsar Alam Khan, member of Bangladesh Rice Merchants Association and owner of Messrs Samota Traders, who is in India for buying rice, told UNB that though he bought rice Tk 30- 32 per kg, they have to bear extra Tk 5-6 per kg for increased transport cost and delay in release at the land ports.

Shaon, manager of Shuvo Rice Agency at Badamtoli Wholesale market in the city, said the prices of coarse variety of rice decreased by Tk 2 a kg in wholesale market.

Claiming the price of rice has increased in the Indian market, he added that the varieties of rice they imported from Indian market at $390-400 per tonne some days ago, are now costing $420-430 per tonne.

M Manjurul Hossain Sajib of Mesrs. Sajib Rice Agency at Segunbagicha kitchen market told UNB that there is no impact on rice prices at retail level though price has decreased slightly at wholesale level.

"But fearing decrease of price, retailers willingly are selling rice at reduced price. Price will actually decrease when new and imported rice will hit market," he added.

Traders of Kawran Bazar, Shukrabad, Badamtoli, Shantinagar and Fakirapool said much the same.