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December 2020 Global Price Watch

  • Price Watch
  • Global
  • December 18, 2020
December 2020 Global Price Watch

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In West Africa, preliminary cereal production estimates indicate that 2020/21 production will be similar to the previous year (2019/20) and nine percent above the five-year average. Market supplies increased with ongoing harvests and the release of traders’ stocks. Insecurity and conflict continued to disrupt market activities in the Greater Lake Chad basin, the Liptako-Gourma region, northeast and northcentral Nigeria, and the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon. Cereal prices seasonally decreased but remained above 2019 and five-year average levels in many regional markets.

    • In East Africa, staple food price trends varied across the region along with local harvest patterns. Locally produced staple food prices declined with the progression of harvests in Kenya and Ethiopia and parts of Uganda and South Sudan. Prices increased in Somalia, Burundi, and Tanzania. The removal of fuel subsidies in Sudan led to atypical price increases during the onset of the harvest period. Livestock prices declined in pastoral areas of Ethiopia and Kenya with the availability of below-average October-to-December rains. Deteriorating macroeconomic conditions have contributed to persistently high and increasing prices in a number of countries. The ongoing dynamics in Tigray region of Ethiopia have led to atypical demand and price patterns which are being monitored closely.

    • In Southern Africa, maize availability on markets tightened with the onset of the 2020/21 lean season. Maize grain prices increased across most areas of the region. South Africa continued exporting maize internationally and to structurally-deficit countries of the region. In Zimbabwe, local production deficits coupled with deteriorating macroeconomic conditions have led to persistently increasing prices throughout the marketing year. Zambia maintained a ban on formal maize exports but continued exporting via informal channels due to favorable prices in neighboring countries.

    • In Central America, markets were supplied with maize and beans from recent regional harvests as well as regional and international imports. The recent postrera harvest is expected to be below average due to losses from hurricanes Eta and Iota. Maize prices exhibited mixed trends while bean prices increased across the region following infrastructure damage, crop losses, and marketing disruptions from the successive hurricanes. In Haiti, local and imported staple food supplies were at average levels, with food prices decreasing on average. Prices were close to or below November 2019 levels but remained above five-year average levels. The HTG appreciated to about 63 HTG per USD.

    • In Central Asia, average supplies and intraregional trade filled local wheat deficits within the region. Wheat prices were stable in Kazakhstan and Afghanistan in November but remained above five-year average levels. In Pakistan, wheat prices were stable or decreasing as domestic supply was augmented with imports from Russia. In Yemen, the broader conflict and macroeconomic context continued to disrupt overall market functioning and food access with staple food prices remaining above 2019- and five-year average levels.

    • International staple food markets remained well supplied. Rice prices decreased, maize and soybean prices increased while wheat prices were stable or increasing in November. Global crude oil prices recovered moderately following news of a viable COVID-19 vaccine but continue to be below five-year average levels.  Global fertilizer prices were stable or increasing in November.

    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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