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December 2019 Global Price Watch

  • Price Watch
  • Global
  • December 31, 2019
December 2019 Global Price Watch

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In West Africa, preliminary crop assessment figures estimate 2019/20 aggregate cereal production to be 75.1 million metric tons (MMT), stable compared to the previous year and well above the previous five-year average. Market supplies are regular and sufficient with current harvests and above-average carryover stocks. Nigeria’s land border closure continues to impede trade flows with neighboring Benin and Niger. Market functioning and access remain disrupted in the Greater Lake Chad basin, the Liptako-Gourma region, and the Tibesti region due to conflict and insecurity. Local staple prices are lower than last year and average levels in most markets, while both imported and local rice prices are above average, especially in coastal countries. Increased prices have been recorded in Liberia and Sierra Leone due to currency depreciation and inflation. Regional price levels will follow seasonal trends, similar to or below average in most countries.

    • In East Africa, maize and sorghum prices increased seasonally in surplus-producing Uganda and Tanzania. Prices were stable or declined in Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, and Somalia with increased availability from local production and relatively lower-priced regional imports. Although prices followed seasonal patterns across most markets in Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Yemen, poor economic conditions sustained elevated prices. Livestock prices were stable or increasing given improvements in water and pasture availability.

    • In Southern Africa, maize supplies were declining seasonally at reference markets across the region. Maize supplies were at average to below-average levels across the region and supply was most constrained in Zimbabwe. Tanzania and South Africa were exceptions with average to above-average maize supply levels. Intra-regional trade remained strong, with South Africa taking a lead role in supplying maize to regional grain deficit countries. Maize grain prices were increasing seasonally across the region at levels well-above-average but were stable and close to average levels in South Africa. In Zimbabwe, prices remained atypically high partly due to reduced 2019 harvests and ongoing macroeconomic challenges. 

    • In Central America, markets were well supplied in November with maize availability from the Primera harvest, beans from the Postrera harvest that are starting to arrive on markets, as well as international imports. Prices followed seasonal trends. Maize prices generally remained above average while bean prices remained below average. Prices in Nicaragua diverged from regional trends due to local dynamics. In Haiti, months of civil unrest has resulted in reduced market availability of key staple foods and restricted food access. November prices for local and imported staple foods exhibited relative stability from October 2019 levels but continue to be significantly above both November 2018 and 5-year average levels. Macroeconomic fundamentals remain weak in the context of an ongoing political impasse.

    • In Central Asia, wheat prices have increased slightly but are generally stable across the region. In Kazakhstan, the region’s largest exporter, the total cereal exports in the 2019-2020 marketing year (July/June), are forecasted to be 8 MT, about 8 percent below average and the lowest amount in five years. Wheat exports are forecasted to be 6.5 MT, 15 percent below the average volume due to reduced domestic production in 2019. Regional wheat and wheat flour availability, however, is expected to be at average levels.

    • International staple food markets remain well supplied. Rice, maize, and soybean prices were stable or decreasing while wheat prices exhibited mixed trends in November 2019. Crude oil prices increased due to modest upward pressures from key market indicators while fertilizer prices were stable or decreasing partly from delays in fall applications in the U.S.

    Price Watch offers a monthly summary and outlook on global, regional and national trends of key commodity prices in FEWS NET countries. Analysis may touch on global issues, such as fuel prices or exchange rates, if they are likely to influence staple food prices in FEWS NET countries. The accompanying Price Watch Annex details price trends by country.

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