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Central America Regional Supply and Market Outlook Update

  • Supply and Market Outlook
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • September 20, 2018
Central America Regional Supply and Market Outlook Update

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  • Key Messages
  • Preface

  • Preface

    This report is an update to the December 2017 Regional Supply and Market Outlook for white maize, black and red dry beans, and milled rice in Central America, during the 2017/18 marketing year (MY). In the Regional Supply and Market Outlook, certain assumptions have been outlined and will be considered, from this point on, to recognize their occurrence or identify factors/reasons that caused the recorded variations. For the purposes of this report, Central America refers to the countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico and Costa Rica are also included in this report because of their relevance in regional staple food supply and trade. 

    Key Messages
    • The annual production data is still not available and could be updated in the following months. The 2017/18 MY spans from August 2017 to July 2018 and covers three main harvests: the 2017 August-to-October Primera harvest, the 2017/2018 November-to-March Postrera harvest, and the 2018 January-to-February Apante/Postrera tardía harvest.

    • In the preliminary production estimates at the regional level, aggregate maize and bean production for MY 2017/18 was above-average when compared to the previous year and five-year average levels, and rice was closer to average levels. Regionally, there is a surplus of maize and beans, while there is a slight reduction in the rice deficit, but the demand from the countries is expected to be met with imports from the international markets.

    • Regionally, the behavior of the nominal prices of maize and beans differed from that which was expected; instead of remaining average to below-average in all countries through the end of the marketing year, maize prices increased seasonally region-wide between March and April 2018 but remained average to above-average. In Nicaragua, December 2017 maize prices were higher and continued to increase, due to factors such as international maize prices, higher costs of inputs and adverse social-political factors. Rice prices have followed the expected behavior, as the international markets have been favorable to this importer region.

    • International maize prices have seen an increase in January 2018, with some variations in the trade trends. Import levels in El Salvador were below average; similar to last year in Honduras and Guatemala. No maize imports were recorded in Nicaragua during the second half of the year. Regional red beans trade flows between Nicaragua and El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Honduras have increased in the last three years.

    • As a result of agro-climatic conditions at the beginning of the rainy season, the Primera harvest is considered average for grains. FEWS NET will monitor the performance of upcoming harvests in 2018.

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