Price Watch March 2017 Prices, April 28, 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 began to increase seasonally in many areas, as household stocks depleted and market purchases intensified. 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 (Page 3).
In East Africa, prices remain well above-average in South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen. Somalia is facing well below-average domestic production. Markets remain severely disrupted by insecurity in Yemen and South Sudan. Import capacity in Yemen is uncertain, and food availability may be constrained in the coming months. Staple food prices followed seasonal trends in Kenya and Sudan, while increasing seasonally but sharply in Tanzania and Uganda (Page 4).
In Southern Africa, regional maize availability improved in March with the progression of the 2016/17 production season. Regional maize production prospects for the current season are good, with record high harvests anticipated in South Africa. This follows a year of very poor maize production, resulting in very large regional deficits. Maize imports by South Africa and Zimbabwe from well-supplied international grain markets have offset over half of the regional deficit. Maize prices were generally stable or declining in March, and are below their respective 2016 levels in many areas (Page 5).
In Central America, maize availability began to decline following the end of the recent Postrera harvest, while bean supplies from the Apante harvest continued to supply markets. Maize and bean prices were seasonally stable or decreasing across the region, with varied trends compared to average levels. In Haiti, local maize and bean prices are firm in most markets but remain significantly higher than average levels in the major southwestern markets of Les Cayes and Jeremie (Page 6). Imported commodity prices remain stable despite the depreciation of the Gourde.
In Central Asia, above-average wheat harvests sustained adequate supplies. Intraregional trade is expected to fill wheat deficits on importing countries. Prices in Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan remained stable and comparable to the 2016 levels, however slight increases were observed in some markets. (Page 7).
International staple food markets remain well supplied. Maize and soybean prices increased, rice prices were firm, while wheat prices varied in March (Figure 2). Crude oil prices fell and remain well below average (Page 2).