Presently, the consumers will have to spend more money than usual in case of purchasing dates and other fruits—two essential items in iftar during Ramadan, due to importers’ difficulty in opening letters of credit (LCs) on time.
Price hike is a most common phenomenon ahead of the month of Ramadan in Bangladesh, and this year even more due to the LC opening crisis.
Already, the price of dates has doubled in the wholesale and retail markets and it will be more expensive ahead of Ramadan, said some businessmen.
The price of all types of dates has hiked in the local markets ranging from Tk 40 to Tk 160 per kg while different fruits range from Tk 30 to Tk 100 per kg.
Some traders said the prices of these essential iftar items will increase further during the month of Ramadan as they are facing difficulties in opening LCs which will push up the prices of dates and fruits.
According to the sources at Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the price of dates increased by 20 percent compared to the last year.
Milton, a shop owner in the Baridhara area, said “The price of dates went more expensive in the past month ahead of Ramadan and I was able to purchase a limited amount of dates due to the soaring price of it.
He also feared that the price of dates would be soared further in the month of Ramadan.
Habibur Rahman, a fruit trader said the price of every fruit has increased.
Whatsoever, ajwa variety of dates is being sold at Tk 750-800 which was available at Tk 600-700 last year. Mariam variety of dates is being sold at Tk 800-850 while the premium variety of dates is being sold at Tk 1000-1200 per kg.
According to the statistics of Bangladesh Bank, the import of dates has fallen by almost half compared to the demands of it but during Ramadan the demand for dates is about 50,000 tonnes.
In the past three months, only 22,000 tonnes of dates were imported which is 46 percent less than the last year. However, the authorities concerned related to import dates have opened LC of 29,000 tonnes dates in January, said sources at Bangladesh Bank.
Sirajul Islam, president of Bangladesh Fresh Fruits Importers Association, said the demand for dates increases three to four times during the month of Ramadan. Besides, there is a demand of 50,000-70,000 dates in the country in a year while 40,000-50,000 is needed in Ramadan alone, he said.
Referring to the opening of LC, Sirajul said “This year the traders faced difficulties in opening LCs in time as they had to open it by paying 100% cash margin while it was 5 percent. The small traders are the worst sufferers in opening LCs.”
The dates are being imported from the Middle East and Africa and dates were being stocked five-six months before the Ramadan, he added.
He also said that the price of dates may increase 30 percent in Ramadan due to the dollar crisis and transport cost caused by the fuel price hike.
If the government will take steps in unloading dates in ports on a priority basis, then there will be no instability in the market, said Sirajul.
Contacted, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, said “We’ll take necessary steps so that the consumers can purchase dates, the most essential items in iftar, at a tolerable price.”
He also assured of keeping monitoring the market to prevent volatile price hikes of dates.
Issuing a warning, the minister also said strict action will be taken against those involved in increasing the price of dates after creating an artificial crisis.
Bangladesh Records 9.49% Inflation in November
In November, the overall point-to-point inflation rate in the country exhibited a marginal decline to 9.49 percent, attributed primarily to decreases in both food and non-food inflation.
The monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) released by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) reported a general inflation rate of 9.93 percent in October. Specifically, food inflation decreased to 10.76 percent in November from 12.56 percent in October, while non-food inflation saw a slight dip to 8.16 percent from the 8.30 percent recorded in the previous month.
Breaking down the data, the rural areas experienced a slight decrease in the overall inflation rate to 9.62 percent in November, down from 9.99 percent in October. Similarly, urban areas witnessed a decline in the general inflation rate to 9.16 percent in November, compared to 9.72 percent in October.
The national wage index rate for November increased to 7.72 percent, showing a slight uptick from the 7.69 percent reported in October.
November Sees Dip in Bangladesh’s Monthly Exports Despite Overall Growth
Export earnings for the current fiscal year (FY24) from July to November reached $22,232.28 million, marking a 1.30 percent growth compared to the same period last year, according to the latest data from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
In the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year (FY23), export earnings amounted to $21,946.07 million. However, there was a notable decline in single-month export earnings for November, witnessing a 6.05 percent fall, reaching $4,784.81 million, as opposed to $5,092.56 million in November of the previous year.
The Ready-Made Garments (RMG) sector remained the primary contributor to export earnings during July-November, securing $18,835.65 million. Within this category, knitwear exports accounted for $10,989.42 million, followed by woven garments at $7,846.23 million.
Notable performances in other exportable categories during the July-November period include primary commodities at $601.42 million, agriculture products at $420.59 million, manufactured commodities at $21,630.86 million, plastic products at $92.60 million, leather and leather products at $427.02 million, jute and jute goods at $361.91 million, and specialized technologies [remaining text not provided].
Momen Urges Kosovo to Tap into Skilled Workforce & Import from Key Sectors
The Foreign Minister, in a meeting today with the outgoing Kosovo ambassador Güner Ureya, urged Kosovo to recruit skilled human resources and consider importing high-quality readymade garments and pharmaceuticals from Bangladesh. The ambassador paid a farewell call on the Foreign Minister at the foreign ministry this afternoon.
During the meeting, the Foreign Minister commended the ambassador for actively advancing bilateral relations and emphasized the importance of enhancing people-to-people contact for stronger mutual relations. The outgoing envoy, in turn, expressed appreciation for Bangladesh’s progress and development across various sectors. Additionally, the envoy briefed the Foreign Minister on the shared interest of business communities in both Bangladesh and Kosovo to boost trade and investment between the two countries.
Discussions also encompassed topics such as women empowerment and the necessity of peace for sustainable development. The outgoing envoy lauded the people, culture, and the beauty of Bangladesh.
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- Bangladesh Records 9.49% Inflation in November
- November Sees Dip in Bangladesh’s Monthly Exports Despite Overall Growth
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- Momen Urges Kosovo to Tap into Skilled Workforce & Import from Key Sectors
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