Price Watch: August 2017 Prices (September 29, 2017)
In West Africa, regional staple food production during the 2016/17 marketing year was well above average. International rice and wheat imports along with institutional subsidized sales continue to support market supplies. Prices stabilized or began declining after reaching their highest levels of the marketing year in July. Pastoral conditions improved, due to adequate pasture and water availability. Current market anomalies remain 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, trade disruptions related to the depreciation of the Naira and various government measures.
In East Africa, maize supplies are generally below-average, causing above-average prices across most of the region. Staple food price levels are especially high in South Sudan. Markets remain severely disrupted by insecurity and significant macro-economic issues in Yemen and South Sudan, impeding staple food supply access. Harvests are ongoing in Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda, and are about to begin in Kenya. Supplies are seasonally low in Ethiopia and Sudan as the lean season progresses.
In Southern Africa, maize availability is average to above average following recent regional harvests. Regional maize production estimates for the 2016/17 season are good, with record-high harvests anticipated in South Africa. After reaching very high levels in 2016, maize prices followed seasonal trends in August and are at or below their respective 2016 and average levels many areas. Maize grain is generally able to circulate between surplus and deficit areas without major trade restrictions. Export parity prices are competitive and exports, encouraging exports to East Africa (from Zambia, South Africa, and Malawi) and International markets (from South Africa).
In Central America, markets remained well supplied as the main maize harvest (Primera season) began and imports continued supporting local availability. Maize and bean prices were generally seasonally stable or decreasing, except in Nicaragua where the season is slightly delayed. Staple food prices remain near or below average levels across the region. In Haiti, local maize and bean prices continued to ease as the Printemps harvest draws to an end under generally favorable conditions. Imported rice prices were stable while the Haitian gourde maintained relative stability against the USD.
Central Asia sustained adequate supplies. Wheat prices generally remained stable in the region. Production forecasts remain largely unchanged from last month. Harvest in Tajikistan will be slightly above last year’s level, similar to last year’s level in Pakistan, and slightly below last year’s level in Kazakhstan and Afghanistan.
International staple food markets remain well supplied. Rice, maize, wheat and soybean prices fell. Crude oil prices rose but continue to remain well below average levels.