West Africa Special Report August 14, 2012
High cereal prices in West Africa likely to fall as October harvests approach
Regional FEWS NET price indices are high as the lean season progresses in West Africa.
The most likely scenario through December 2012 suggests that regional prices will remain high but follow typical seasonal trends, with prices beginning to decline as the October harvest approaches and continuing to fall through the end of the year. This scenario assumes average to above.average rainfall and production in the Sahel and no major disruptions to the marketing system.
The major threat to this scenario is an early end to the rainy season in the Sahel and a subsequent, generalized locust infestation. The risk of these events is most acute during August 2012. If these events occurred, prices could be higher than expected in the most likely scenario given reduced crop production, speculative marketing behavior, and increased institutional purchases.
Additional threats which may put upward pressure on prices in the coming months include rising global commodity prices, declining terms of trade (particularly for imported commodities into the CFA Franc zone), and major civil unrest in northern Mali and neighboring countries.