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Dalda jacks up ghee, oil prices

May 21, 2009

KARACHI, May 20 As the unveiling of new budget draws near, a leading packer has announced a second price hike in just one month of Rs5 per litre on cooking oil and Rs9 per kg on ghee citing surging trend in palm oil rates.

Dalda Foods on Wednesday raised the price of 5-kg ghee tin to Rs725 from Rs680 and 2.5-kg tin to Rs373 from Rs350. The price of 5-litre and 2.5-litre cooking oil tins jacked up to Rs725 and Rs373 from Rs698 and Rs358 respectively.

The rate of one kg/litre pouch of ghee and cooking oil had been raised to Rs143 each as compared to Rs137.

In third week of April Dalda Foods had increased the rate by Rs4 per litre on cooking oil and Rs8 per kg on ghee. On February 2009, the 5-litre and 2.5-litre ghee tins were selling at Rs657 and Rs337 and the 5-kg and 2.5-kg ghee tins were available at Rs668 and Rs342.

In sharp contrast, makers of Meezan ghee reduced the rate of one kg pouch to Rs108 and one litre cooking oil to Rs109 from Rs112 and Rs115 respectively.

The price of 16-kg ghee and cooking oil tins have been fluctuating daily depending on the palm oil rates on world markets. The 16-kg ghee and cooking oil tins price has been reduced to Rs1,700 and Rs1,600 from Rs1,720 and Rs1,610 in just one day.

General Secretary Karachi Retail Grocers Group (KRGG) Farid Qureishi said that it seemed that the government had never been serious in checking the price changes being made by ghee and cooking oil producers on their own citing movements in palm oil rates in Malaysia and Indonesia.

He asked when a leading packer was increasing the local rate by linking it to rise in palm oil price, then how could other packers were reducing the rates even on 5-kg and 2.5-kg tins.

An official in Dalda Foods said that palm oil rates had been under pressure due to increase in crude oil prices followed by failure of Argentina's soyabean crop.

He said one dollar per ton change (up or down) in crude oil prices made an immediate impact of $13-14 per ton on palm oil and soyabean oil on world markets (either upward or downward).

Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association Chairman Abdul Majeed Haji Mohammad was unaware about the price increase made by Dalda Foods despite the fact that the company was an active member of the association.

The company might have increased the prices due to depletion of old stocks of palm oil, he opined by saying that perhaps many companies are indulged in profit-taking as some old stocks are arriving at cheap rates.

He said the palm oil rates were moving both ways as currently it was quoted at $830 per ton (C&F) as compared to $805 per ton a month back. Similarly, soyabean oil price surged to $900 from $850 per ton.

He said that the sales of ghee and cooking oil had been depressed for the last one month due to curtailing buying power of people. Many people, instead of purchasing edible products in five kg and 2.5 kg tins, now prefer to have one kg pouch.