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The Market Monitor, Issue 47 - April 2020

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During Q1-2020, fifteen countries recorded 'severe' impact on the cost of their food baskets. Lebanon's depleting US dollar reserves continued to impair wheat imports, driving up prices of the staple in the country. Similarly, the plummeting value of the Syrian pound against the US dollar led to surging domestic food prices.

Other key factors behind upward pressure on the cost of food baskets included: soaring input costs (Sudan); supply shortages (Mozambique, CAR, Zambia); strong seasonal demand (Sierra Leone); and disrupted trade flows (Chad, Rwanda).

Quarter-on-quarter food inflation was exceptionally high in Myanmar and Zimbabwe, both at around 24 percent in Q1-2020. In Lebanon, the protracting economic and financial crisis led to 12 percent food inflation quarter-on-quarter. Zimbabwe recorded the highest headline inflation quarter-on-quarter (41 percent ), followed by Sudan (16 percent), where fuel and bread shortages further pushed prices up. As the Venezuelan Bolivar continued to lose value (56 percent) , the Zambian Kwatcha, the Angolan Kwanza, and the Yemeni Riyal depreciated by around 9, 8 and 6 percent, respectively, compared to Q4-2019.