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Karwan Bazar shop owners alluded to a cat and mouse game about the supply of soybean oil. A visit to different markets in the capital on Monday found that there is almost no soybean oil in the market. Sellers of the shops that have the oil were forcing the shoppers to buy other items if they wanted to buy oil.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Karwan Bazar’s Sonali Enterprise proprietor Md Dulal Mia said this situation has been going on for a week. Oil has been supplied at best three days in the last seven days. The wholesalers also have increased the price. Bottle of one-litre soybean oil is being sold at Tk 159 each but sellers are being forced to sell those at Tk 160. That is why the sellers are forcing the shoppers to buy something else with oil, he added.

Another seller, Md Aslam, said they got two cartons of soybean oil when a magistrate raided the market on Sunday afternoon. “It took just 10 minutes to sell the oil.”

Md Ali, proprietor of Ali General Store in Madhubagh in the capital, said he had one bottle of soybean oil at his shop. “The supply is scarce for the last few days. But I have got enough loose soybean oil.”

In this situation, 100 and 200 ml oil is being sold at shops in local shops.

Country’s edible oil market is basically dependent on import. That’s why the price is also dependent on the international price. Economists, however, allege that local market manipulation rather than international market is more responsible for exorbitant oil price hike in Bangladesh.

The price hike started since the war of Russia and Ukraine. Argentina’s announcement to limit export and Indonesia’s announcement to stop export of palm oil are also responsible behind the record price hike. Local businessmen also limited import as they said they were not making enough profit. At the same time traders started hoarding the oil as they assumed the price would increase after Eid-ul-Fitr. All of this has created the crisis.

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