Prices for essential items remain stable amid third wave of Covid

Prices of basic necessities such as rice, wheat, pulses and cooking oils have remained stable amid the ongoing third wave of Covid-19, unlike the first two waves, thanks to abundant supply. In some cases, such as basmati rice, tea and palm oil, prices have fallen as out-of-home consumption has plummeted as weddings and other celebrations have been canceled due to rising cases and local restrictions, industry insiders said.

Delayed deliveries and growing demand due to anxious customers stocking up for hard times had led to soaring prices for basic necessities during the first and second waves.

“That kind of anxiety doesn’t exist in the third wave because people have learned to deal with the situation from the last two waves,” said Angshu Mallick, managing director of Adani Wilmar, which sells cooking oils, from the atta, legumes, basmati rice and sugar under the Fortune brand. “On our side, the preparation has been more such that we are ready with our stock… The millers have wheat with them which can meet the demand for at least two months. Therefore, there is no question price increases,” he said. .

Agencies

Plus prices are also unlikely to rise as new supplies are expected to hit the market.

Bimal Kothari, vice president of the Indian Pulses and Grains Association, said the rabi crop comprising chickpeas, masoor and yellow peas will start hitting the market in the next month and a half. “There will be a plentiful supply of pulses in the market, and we don’t see price increases,” he said. “In addition, the government has extended the deadline for free imports of moong, tur and urad to March 31, 2022.”

Basmati rice prices fell as many weddings and other celebrations were canceled due to an increase in pandemic cases.

“Basmati rice prices have also fallen as exports are not happening due to non-availability of containers at the port,” said Gurnam Arora, joint managing director of rice and food company Kohinoor Foods.

Adani Wilmar’s Mallick said the price of the best quality basmati rice fell to ₹75 per kg from ₹80 in December.

Edible oil prices have started to fall following the reduction of import duties and other government measures such as the imposition of stock limits to curb hoarding. The average retail price of groundnut oil now stands at ₹180 per litre, mustard oil at ₹190, soybean oil at ₹150, sunflower oil at ₹165 and oil palm at ₹130 per litre, according to industry data.

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