International wheat price trends were mixed in April but were still lower than wheat prices seen a year ago, according to the latest Food Price Monitoring and Analysis Bulletin released this week. The price of US hard red winter wheat fell three percent in April as a result of improved production prospects in several key producing areas. Global maize prices were up from March due to increased export demand and concerns about production in South America; however, April maize prices also remained lower than the previous year's levels.

The Bulletin highlights several domestic price warnings this month. In Argentina, yellow maize prices are at record levels due to strong export demand, the weak local currency, and the recent elimination of export taxes in the country. Heavy rains also delayed harvest progress, putting further upward pressure on prices. Wheat prices also increased significantly in the country, more than doubling from last year's levels; this also reflects increased exports due to the relaxation of export taxes. The Government of Argentina has responded by announcing measures to provide selected food items at reduced prices in order to protect consumers from these price spikes.

Yellow maize prices are also at record highs in Brazil due to strong domestic demand from the feed industry and strong export demand, supported by a weak local currency. Recent dry weather in the country has caused concerns about 2016 production, further driving up prices. In response, the Government of Brazil removed maize import duties in late April in order to help cushion the effect of these price increases on consumers. Wheat prices in Brazil remained virtually unchanged from March, but are still more than 20 percent higher than prices in April 2015 due to a reduced 2015 crop.

In Colombia, rice prices remained high, although new harvests and imports from the US and Mercosur countries helped lower prices from the record levels seen in March. Dry weather affected rice production in early 2016, but overall production prospects for the year remain favorable.

In Malawi, maize prices fell seasonally in but remain at record highs due to drought conditions and subsequent tight domestic and regional supplies. Mozambique has also seen sharp increases in maize prices in recent months due to poor weather conditions and the depreciation of the local currency.

Coarse grain prices are well above last year's levels in Nigeria. As the Nigerian Naira has depreciated following the rapid drop in oil revenues, the price of both imported and domestic food has risen sharply. Conflict in the northeast area of the country has further exacerbated the food security situation, with disrupted markets and high transaction costs hurting both consumers and producers. The Government of Nigeria has recently announced the release of 10,000 tons of grain from the National Strategic Grains Reserve to help alleviate food insecurity.

Maize prices fell in April in South Africa, but remain higher than last year's levels; yellow maize prices are 27 percent higher and white maize prices are more than two-thirds higher. Dry weather conditions have severely reduced production, contributing to these high prices.

Throughout Asia, rice prices increased in exporting countries due to concerns over the effects of weather conditions on upcoming harvests. In Cambodia, high prices were mainly due to reduce 2015 secondary season crops and to increased export sales to traditional buyers. In Vietnam, concerns over ongoing dry weather and soil salinity contributed to increased price quotations.

India saw steady wheat prices, reflecting expectations of below average output. Ongoing government procurement purchases also prevented prices from declining in April.

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