Planning Minister MA Mannan on Tuesday said the country’s overall inflation may rise in March due to the dry season, and consumers stocking up on essential commodities ahead of Ramadan, which could strain supply on the market.
Mannan made the remark while speaking to reporters after the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) meeting, held in the city's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar on Tuesday.
He added, “We fear that inflation may increase in the country as consumers are trying to stockpile essential commodities ahead of Ramadan. Inflation may also go up due the dry season in the country. It may however decline from April.
“Inflation may come down from the month of Baishakh if there is a bumper Boro harvest,” he said, adding that the harvest may be hampered if there is excessive rainfall during this time.
The minister said that the government is focusing more on the supply side to keep the market stable.
“In our country, consumers usually buy essential commodities such as edible oil, onion, and sugar in excess before the holy month of Ramadan. So the commodity prices go up during the period.”
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the country’s overall inflation was recorded at 8.78 per cent in February, compared to 8.57 per cent in January.
The food inflation in rural areas was at 8.19 per cent last month, up from 7.92 per cent in January. In urban areas, it was at 7.98 per cent last month, up from 7.41 per cent in January.
The non-food inflation in rural areas also decreased to 9.98 per cent in February from January’s 10.12 per cent. However, in urban areas, it also rose to 9.61 per cent in February from 9.48 per cent in January.
Bangladesh's inflation reached 9.5 per cent in August due to rising commodity prices and record hike in fuel prices. But, it declined to 9.1 per cent in September this FY. According to the national budget, Bangladesh had set the inflation target at 5.6 per cent for FY2022-23.
The BBS inflation data, however, did not fully reflect the ongoing situation in kitchen markets as essential commodity prices are still soaring across the country ahead of Ramadan.
Compared to the last two months, essential commodity prices have increased in the both wholesale and retail markets. Notably, the prices of broiler chicken, beef, and sugar have increased in the city’s kitchen markets.
Broiler chicken was being sold at Tk 260-290 per kg this week, which was Tk 160-170 per kg in the last week of January. Beef was sold at Tk 720-800 per kg this week, which was Tk 700 per kg in January.
Meanwhile, sugar was being sold at Tk 120 per kg this week, which was Tk 90 two months ago.
Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) President Ghulam Rahman recently said the inflation situation has significantly worsened, and it has already impacted negatively the lives of low and middle-income people across the country.
The planning minister said the economy is now more stable compared to the last two months. “Our reserves, exports, and remittance are on the right track,” he added. 21 Mar 2023