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The Market Monitor - Trends of staple food prices in vulnerable countries, Issue 14 - January 2012

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Situation Report
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This bulletin covers 68 countries for the period October to December 2011 (Q4-2011). It examines trends in staple food prices, fuel prices, the cost of the basic food basket, terms of trade and consumer price indices (CPI) at country level. This issue also provides an overview of the regions which were mostly affected by the impact of price fluctuations on the cost of the basic food basket through 2011 (see Box 1). Price data are now available at http://foodprices.vam.wfp.org.

Highlights

Global trends

• The global cereal price index decreased by about 9% from last quarter, yet remained 3% above Q4-2010. Its dwindling trend is confirmed by international prices of maize and wheat, which both declined by 11%, while rice prices increased by 3% from the last quarter. Overall, international maize and rice prices are still 11% above Q4-2010, while wheat is 1% below.

• Figure 1 presents a snapshot of the staple food price series presented in this bulletin. Prices declined in 54% of the series and increased by over 10 percent in 16%of the series during Q4-2011. The highest price increases were observed in Western Africa and the Sahel, followed by Central and Eastern Africa (see Table 3). The commodities facing major price increases are sorghum, millet, and maize.

• The impact of staple commodity price changes on the cost of the food basket was high (between 5% and 10%) in five countries (Cambodia, Chad, Mali, North Nigeria, and Zimbabwe) and severe (above 10%) in three countries (Burkina Faso, Niger and Sudan). In Sudan, the price impact was severe in all the nine states reported in the bulletin. In Somalia, the impact of staple commodity price changes was low in almost all Somalia except in Togdheer region, where it was moderate. While prices of vulnerable households’ main staple food (i.e. red sorghum) have stabilized at higher levels compared to 2010, the humanitarian crisis situation persists in Southern Somalia.

• Overall, sharp increases in the seasonally adjusted cost of the food basket were observed in 50 out of 56 countries for which data were available.