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The Market Monitor - Trends and impacts of staple food prices in vulnerable countries, Issue 23 - April 2014

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Global Highlights

• During the first quarter of 2014, the global cereal price index decreased by 19% year-on-year, and slightly increased by 1% compared to the previous quarter.

• Nominal prices of maize (-31%), wheat (-8%) and rice (-23%) are significantly below a year ago due to strong supplies.

• Real prices2 of maize are up by 5% since the last quarter of 2013 given a surge in demand and high trade forecasts against comfortable stock levels after 2013 record crops.

• While real prices of wheat declined by 4% between the last two quarters, they firmly increased in March as a result of political tensions in the Black Sea region, US weather concerns, a strong demand in the Near East Asia and Africa and lower y/y global production forecasts.

• For rice, real prices are down by 3% since Q4-2013 based on strong supplies for export, limited demand, slightly upward production forecasts and the end of paddy intervention buying in Thailand.

• The impact of domestic price changes on the cost of food baskets in the last quarter was severe (>10%) in Burundi and high (5-10%) in 6 countries; these are Azerbaijan, Afghanistan,
Cambodia, Cameroon, Lao PDR, and Rwanda. In 58 out of 65 monitored countries the impact of the price changes was low or moderate (<5%).

• The commodities which drove the biggest cost changes of the food basket were sweet potatoes in Burundi, bananas in Rwanda, wheat in Afghanistan, potatoes in Azerbaijan as well as rice in Lao PDR and Cambodia.