Global Price Watch: April 2019 Prices (May 31, 2019)
In West Africa, current market supplies are regular. Supplies seasonally decreased at the end of the post-harvest period. Seasonal demand increased with the replenishment of stocks, but remains below average in several countries, despite Ramadan, due to sustained household stocks and reduced institutional purchases. Coarse grain prices in the Sahel were stable or seasonally increasing compared to March 2019, but closer or slightly below average levels. Above-average rice prices continued in coastal countries due to currency depreciation and inflation. Disrupted market activities persisted, with pronounced impacts on supplies and trade flows Greater Lake Chad basin, Tibesti region, and Liptako-Gourma region due to insecurity. Livestock markets remain affected by insecurity and limited export opportunities to Nigeria. Seasonal demand will continue with the depletion of stocks and increased market reliance throughout the region. Staple prices will increase but will be below last year and within average ranges in most countries.
In East Africa, staple food prices remained stable or increased seasonably across much of the region. Prices were atypically stable or declined in Somalia in April following increased supplies from delayed January-to-February harvests. Wheat flour prices remained stable at elevated levels in most markets in Yemen. Conflict and severe macro-economic instability continued to disrupt markets and sustain significantly high prices in Yemen, South Sudan and Sudan.
In Southern Africa, maize supply improved seasonally as the main 2019/20 harvest began. Maize grain prices were stable or decreasing in key reference markets except for parts of Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe that experienced several shocks during the main growing season and where harvests are either delayed or minimal. Maize grain prices remain above their year earlier levels across the region. Maize grain was able to circulate between surplus and deficit areas without major trade restrictions excluding Zambia, where export restrictions were reintroduced in April for maize grain and maize meal.
In Central America, maize market supplies remained sufficient but continued to decline following the conclusion of the recent Postrera harvests, while availability from the recent bean harvests helped maintain supply levels across the region. Carryover stocks and imports also contributed to supplies. Maize and bean price trends varied in April. Prices trends varied in Nicaragua with maize prices declining in April at above average levels while bean prices increased slightly at below-average levels. In Haiti, staple food markets are well supplied. Local maize and black bean prices increased in April while imported rice and maize meal prices were stable. Prices for both local and imported staples remain significantly above their five-year average levels and are expected to increase in the coming months due to concerns over abnormal dryness in the southern peninsula, weak macroeconomic fundamentals and an unstable socio-political climate.
Regional availability and price trends varied considerably across Central Asia with the progression of the 2018/2019 marketing year (MY). Due to prolonged periods of dryness and below-average cumulative precipitation, wheat production is expected to be slightly less than the previous year but almost equal to the fiveyear average. Regional wheat deficits are expected to be filled through intra-regional trade.
International staple food markets remain well supplied. Rice prices were stable while wheat, maize and soybean prices weakened in April. Crude oil prices increased for the fourth consecutive month, reflecting declining oil inventory and heightened market perceptions of oil supply risks. Global fertilizer prices decreased on average.