Coronavirus: Panic buying pushes up prices of essentials

ANM Mohibub Uz Zaman

21st March, 2020 10:17:24 printer

Coronavirus: Panic buying pushes up prices of essentials

File photo.

Panic buying has triggered a rise of essential items in the capital and elsewhere of the country as new cases of coronavirus were detected Friday.

Supermarkets and grocery shops across the country are facing a huge rush of customers over the last few days as people are stockpiling essential commodities to meet their demand to avoid leaving their homes.

Dhaka residents were found flocking to grocery shops to buy essentials like rice, oil, onion, pulse, garlic and ginger.

Many were seen buying these items in bulk in fear of shortages if the virus spread further.

Many traders have increased the prices unilaterally amid as demands increased. The panic buying has also strained the supply chains, resulting in picked-over shelves, long lines and increased prices.

The Consumers’ Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Chairman Ghulam Rahman said panic buying will not last for more than 4-5 days. He also urged people to refrain from bulk buying.

Prices of rice on Friday increased by Tk 3.0-6.0 per kilogram (kg) in the retail market already while the finer quality miniket, najirshail and jeerashail were selling at Tk 60-68 per kg on Friday.

Medium quality Brridhan-28, paijam and lata were selling at Tk 52-56 per kg while coarse variety swarna and BR-11 at Tk 40- 42 per kg.

Aminul Islam, a trader in Mohammadpur, said many people are purchasing multiple sacks of rice and stockpiling pulses, potato, flour, onion, other cooking ingredients, dry food and sanitary items amid the fear created by the Covid 19 pandemic.

He said both wholesalers and retailers were charging additional prices though there is a huge stock of the products in the wholesale markets.  Potato prices rose by Tk 5.0 per kg and the essential item was sold at Tk 25 (cardinal, diamond) and Tk 35 (local or carriage) a kg.

Sugar prices jumped to Tk 70-75 per kg from Tk 68-72 a kg.

Egg, the daily breakfast item, was selling between Tk 108- 110 per dozen on Friday which was Tk 90-96 a dozen a week back. Coarse lentil was priced at Tk 80-90 per kg and finer quality lentil at Tk 120-145 a kg on the day, compared to Tk 10- 20 hike in a week.