Global Price Watch: May 2017 Prices (June 30, 2017)
In West Africa, regional staple food production during the 2016/17 marketing year was well above average. International rice and wheat imports continue to support regional market supplies. Prices continued to increase seasonally in many areas in May with the onset of the lean season. Current market anomalies remain largely concentrated in the eastern marketing basin, including but not limited to: conflict-related market disruptions in the Lake Chad basin, localized above-average grain deficits in Niger, and the impacts of the continued depreciation of the Naira. In East Africa, staple food supplies remain tight and prices well above-average in South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen. Markets remain severely disrupted by insecurity in Yemen and South Sudan. Import capacity in Yemen is uncertain, and food availability will likely remain constrained in the coming months. Uganda and Kenya are also facing below-average staple food supply and above-average and increasing prices following poor harvests. In Southern Africa, regional maize availability continued to improve in May with the progression of harvests from the 2016/17 production season. Regional maize production prospects for the current season are good with record-high harvests anticipated in South Africa. Maize prices declined sharply in most areas in May, and were below their respective 2016 levels in many areas. The exceptions to these trends are in Zambia, where prices remain above average. Low regional maize prices encouraged exports to East Africa and beyond. In Central America, staple food availability continued to decline following the end of the recent Postrera harvest and Apante harvest. Maize and bean prices were seasonally stable or decreasing across the region, with varied trends compared to average levels. In Haiti, local maize prices were firm while local black beans prices saw a modest increase from their April levels. Imported rice prices were stable as the Haitian gourde appreciated marginally against the U.S. dollar. Higher transportation costs will continue to place upward pressures on staple food prices in the coming months. Central Asia sustained adequate supplies. Wheat prices remained stable in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan, but started to decline in Pakistan with the arrival of the new harvest. Rice prices in Pakistan increased following larger export demand, affecting also rice prices in Afghanistan. Intraregional trade is expected to fill staples’ deficits on importing countries. International staple food markets remain well supplied. Maize prices fell, soybean prices rose while rice and wheat prices were mixed. Crude oil prices fell and remain well below average.