This Regional Supply and Market Outlook Update summarizes market and price trends in Central America through mid‐March 2021. A summary of the perspectives on economic recovery after the COVID‐19 pandemic is also highlighted.
In Central America, updated production estimates show below average maize and beans production for MY 2020/21 due to crop losses during the harvest season. Below‐ average postrera and apante harvest in Honduras and Nicaragua resulting from the impact of hurricanes ETA and IOTA in November 2020 decreased bean production, and above average rainfall in El Salvador in primera harvest (2020) led to a decline in white maize production. Regional white maize production will remain close to average, and beans production will be below the previous year and five‐year average levels, while milled rice will be above 2020/2021 (Figure 1).
The region is expected to have below average maize and beans surpluses. The rice deficit will decrease from above average production in Nicaragua. Imports from regional and international markets (Annex 7) are expected to fill domestic supply deficits even as international prices remain above average. Wholesale and retail local bean prices are expected to remain above average (Figure 2) during the remaining months of MY 2020/21. Maize prices are expected to remain at average to below average levels. Moderate and progressive economic recovery is anticipated for the remainder of MY 2020/21 with the easing of COVID‐19 mobility restrictions and the beginning of immunization programs (Annex 7).
Global reference prices, regional trade, and government policies are expected to influence upcoming harvests and should be monitored through July 2021 (Annex 7). Climate conditions also need to be observed as the primera season begins, especially along the Central American Dry Corridor.