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May 2020 Global Price Watch

  • Price Watch
  • Global
  • May 31, 2020
May 2020 Global Price Watch

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In West Africa, market supplies were adqeuate but lower than the previous year due to production deficits and COVID-19 related disruptions, especially in Nigeria. Demand increased with seasonal depletion of stocks and Ramadan but remained below average given carryover stocks and limited purchasing power. Insecurity related market disruptions persisted in the Greater Lake Chad basin, the Tibesti region, and the Liptako-Gourma region. Staple prices were below average in the Sahel, except in deficit areas, and were substantially above average in Nigeria.

    • In East Africa, staple food price trends varied seasonally across much of the region. COVID-19 related movement restrictions contributed to some atypical supply, demand, and price patterns. Prices increased seasonally in Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Burundi, and decreased seasonally in Tanzania. Prices increased faster than normal in Kenya where recent harvests were below average. Prices continued increasing atypically in Sudan and remained above average in many areas of the region due to persistent high inflation and foreign exchange depreciation. Livestock prices remained stable at elevated levels due to favorable rangeland conditions earlier in the year and despite limited demand from the Middle East as pastoralists within the region continue to rebuild their herds following the 2016/17 drought.

    • In Southern Africa, maize supply on major markets improved seasonally as the 2020/21 marketing year began in most countries of the region. Prices were stable or declined seasonally in many countries but remained well above average. South Africa continued exporting maize to structurally-deficit countries of the region, especially Zimbabwe where regional imports have expanded considerably in recent months following the easing of phytosanitary (GMO) restrictions. Zambia maintained a ban on maize exports, while informal exports from Zambia persistent and were driven by favorable price trends in neighboring countries.

    • In Central America, maize supplies were average while market speculation led to temporary disruptions in bean supply. Maize and beans prices followed seasonal trends and increased in April. Maize prices remained above average while bean prices were significantly above average across the region. In Haiti, local and imported staple food supplies were at average to below-average levels in April. Staple food prices generally increased and remained above 2019 and five-year average levels. The Haitian gourde was relatively stable against the USD.

    • In Central Asia, wheat price trends varied in Afghanistan and were stable or decreasing in Pakistan. Wheat export prices increased on average in Kazakhstan. In Yemen, the broader conflict and macroeconomic context continued to disrupt overall market functioning and food access. Staple food prices remained above-average levels.

    • International staple food markets are well supplied. Rice and wheat prices increased while maize and soybean prices decreased on average. Global crude oil prices declined due to above-average supply levels and expectations for a downturn in global economic activity. Global fertilizer prices trends varied.

    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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