Global Price Watch: March 2018 Prices (April 30, 2018)
In West Africa, markets are sufficiently supplied across much of the region, but at below average levels in several countries due to localized deficits and continuing stock retention by market actors. Market demand is seasonally increasing at above-average levels. Local coarse grain prices are stable or increasingly moderate, but remain above average. Prices are expected to remain above average through to the lean season. Below average pasture and fodder availability as well as persistent reduced export opportunities to Nigeria continue to affect livestock markets.
In East Africa, markets remain severely disrupted by insecurity and significant macro-economic challenges in Yemen and South Sudan, impeding staple food supply access and putting upward pressure on prices. Staple food price trends varied across the region, while prices generally followed seasonal trends in Uganda, Kenya, and Somalia. Atypically stable prices were observed in parts of Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia, supported by subsidies. In Tanzania prices declined atypically due to abundant national supplies.
In Southern Africa, domestic maize supplies continue to tighten with harvests imminent across most of the region. The main maize harvests were already underway in Malawi and Madagascar. Maize prices exhibited mixed trends as the lean season peaked but are below average levels for most of the region except for Madagascar and parts of eastern DRC. Maize grain is generally able to circulate between surplus and deficit areas without major trade restrictions within the region. Export parity prices remain competitive, encouraging exports to East Africa (from Zambia and South Africa) and international markets (from South Africa).
In Central America, maize and bean availability began to decrease seasonally in March. Maize prices remain below average in Guatemala, average in Honduras, and above average in Nicaragua. Bean prices remained above average in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In El Salvador, although maize and bean prices remain below average, they increased atypically in recent months due to stock retention from market by farmers. In Haiti, local maize prices increased while local black bean prices were firm. Supply remains adequate for both local substitutes and imported staples, while rice prices remain at average levels. The Haitian gourde depreciated further against the USD.
International staple food markets remain well supplied. Soybean prices were firm, rice and wheat price trends were mixed, while maize prices increased. Crude oil prices rose moderately due to declining global petroleum inventories.