Recent food price developments in most vulnerable countries- Issue No 2, Dec 2008

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 31 Dec 2008
This price watch bulletin covers the quarterly period from September to November 2008. The objective of the bulletin is to provide early warning information on price changes of staple food commodities and their likely impact on the cost of the food basket. Price changes are determined for each country on a quarterly basis.

Highlights:

- Prices still remain significantly higher compared to last year and long term averages, especially in Eastern and Southern Africa, Asia and Middle East. Overall, the impact on the cost of the food basket remains relatively high.

- However, in most of the 36 countries monitored, prices of main staple food commodities have slightly declined over the last three months.

- West Africa: Staple food prices were generally stable during the last quarter, except in Benin and Senegal where prices have continued to rise-albeit at a lower rate. The year on year price changes remain higher than changes from long term averages.

- East and Southern Africa: The region shows a mixed picture. Half of the countries are still experiencing upward price trends, with significant maize price increases observed in Malawi and Kenya. Prices remain very high compared to their long run averages, especially in the Horn of Africa. The situation remains alarming in Zimbabwe due to hyperinflation.

- Asia and Selected Countries: Prices have either remained stable or declined, implying that the cost of food basket in these countries has declined more when compared to other regions such as Africa. However, they remain significantly higher in comparison to the long run averages.