Consumers in the country are still compelled to buy soybean oil at exorbitant prices despite a significant fall in its prices in the global market.
The prices of soybean have showed a 16 per cent decline in the world market this year but the country's refiners are yet to go for any downward readjustment, market observers said.
Bottled soybean of different companies is now selling at Tk 105-Tk 107 a litre as against Tk 94-Tk 98 in October and Tk 98-Tk 102 in December last, according to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).
TCB data also showed that prices of loose soybean oil increased to Tk 88-Tk 92 a litre from earlier Tk 80-Tk 82 recording a 10-12 per cent hike.
Following a surge in global prices, domestic prices of both bottled and loose soybean were increased twice between October and December last year by the country's refiners, according to the Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC).
"The world market prices of soybean oil have started declining from the first week of January which is yet to be reflected in the domestic market", Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Secretary Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan said.
He said soybean oil cost US $800 a tonne in December last but the price started declining from January to $720 in February this year.
He said local refiners raised the prices of soybean by 10 to 12 per cent following the then surge of last year.
"But now they are delaying readjustment, depriving the consumers," he regretted.
According to the web portal of Nasdaq, soybean oil prices declined by nearly 16 per cent in last three and half months.
Contacted, Biswajit Saha, General Manager of City Group, a leading refiner, told the FE that the global market has been fluctuating.
"Refiners will observe the market for some more days aiming to maintain stable market in the upcoming month of Ramadan," he said.
He said prices of palm oil have been showing an uptrend and are likely to surpass the price level of soybean.
"Businesses are still undecided concerning the matter. It will take some time to fix new prices," he added.
He informed the FE that the local importers bring 1.7-1.8 million tonnes of palm and soybean oil annually of which soybean constitutes 24-25 per cent.