In West Africa, food prices were stable or decreased in December 2012 as staple food availability continued to improve with the ongoing marketing season.
In East Africa, staple food prices continued to decline seasonally in most markets in December 2012. Price decreases were slowed in Sudan and Uganda by high inflation and transports costs and in Kenya due to below-average production levels. In South Sudan, civil insecurity resulted in localized price increases. Maize prices increased in Tanzania and in the eastern semi-arid agro-pastoral zone of Rwanda due to delayed rains and poor rainfall distribution.
In Southern Africa, food prices increased in December 2012 as the lean season progressed. Localized production shortfalls, rising fuel costs, and strong export and institutional demand exerted upward pressure on food prices in Malawi, Tanzania, Central Mozambique, and Southern Zimbabwe.
In Haiti, staple food prices decreased or remained stable at high levels in December 2012 due to stable supplies from international markets and ongoing pigeon pea harvests. In Central America, staple food prices were seasonally stable or decreased slightly in December with the ongoing Postrera harvests.
In Afghanistan and Tajikistan, wheat flour and grain prices were stable or decreased in December 2012. Prices increased in markets supplied by high-priced regional imports and affected by local marketing constraints.
International maize and wheat prices remained stable at high levels in December 2012 due to tight global supplies and strong import demand (Figure 1). Rice export prices were stable, while soybean and palm oil prices declined further in December 2012. International reference prices remain high and vulnerable to evolving global market conditions.