In West Africa, market availability was good in January with carryover stocks, supplies from above-average 2015/16 regional harvests, and international rice and wheat imports. Markets remained disrupted throughout the Lake Chad Basin and in parts of Northern Mali.
In East Africa, maize prices declined seasonally in surplus-producing areas of Uganda. Harvests are estimated to be below average in Ethiopia and South Sudan, putting pressure on local markets. The South Sudanese Pound was allowed to float in December, leading to a persistent depreciation of the local currency and reducing purchasing power. Markets remain disrupted by insecurity in South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen.
In Southern Africa, maize supplies are well below-average and continued to significantly tighten across the region with the progression of the lean season. With the greatest maize shortage in the region, maize price increases in Malawi were significant and are expected to continue as public stocks diminish, import opportunities decline, and depreciation continues. Maize prices increased and are well above-average levels across the region.
In Central America, maize prices followed seasonal trends and supplies from the recent Primera season (main maize harvest) began to dwindle. Red and black bean supplies increased with the end of the bean harvest (Postrera) and prices remained stable or decreased in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Locally-produced bean and maize availability remained below-average in Haiti, while imported commodity prices and availability remained stable.
In Central Asia, wheat availability remained adequate region-wide. Prices are below their respective 2015 levels in surplus-producing area.
International staple food markets remain well supplied. Maize, wheat, rice, and soybean prices were stable in January and below their respective 2015 level. Crude oil prices continued to decrease and remained well below-average.