The FAO’s monthly report on food price trends was released on November 10. The bulletin reports on recent food price developments over the past month at the global, regional, and country levels, with a focus on developing countries and early warnings for high country-level food prices that may negatively affect food security.

This month’s report finds that, despite slight global price increases for wheat and maize, average agricultural prices remain below their year-earlier level; this trend is supported by expectations of record crops and ample global supplies. More specifically, the benchmark US wheat price averaged 193 dollars per ton in October, up 2 percent from September but 13 percent below its year-earlier level. Similarly, the benchmark US maize prices averaged around 152 dollars per ton in October, up 3 percent from September but 12 percent below its year-earlier level. These increases were driven by strong export sales for wheat and strong trade and delayed harvests in Europe and the US for maize; the increases were limited, however, by continued good production outlooks for both crops. In contrast, the FAO all rice price index declined by 2 percent in October due to relatively slow global sales and ample supplies.

Several countries received domestic food price warnings this month. These warnings mean that the prices of one or more basic food commodity are at abnormally high levels that could negatively impact access to food. The countries that received warnings include Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Malawi, Nigeria, South Sudan, Swaziland, and Zambia. In Argentina, yellow maize prices increased moderately in September and reached levels double those of a year earlier, mainly due to strong exports and a weak currency. In Bangladesh, rice prices reached historic highs after five consecutive months of price increases driven by tightening domestic supplies and relatively low outputs. In Bolivia, maize prices decreased due to the ongoing harvest and increased imports; however, prices remain 70 to 90 percent above year-earlier levels. In Brazil, maize prices increased moderately in October and remained significantly higher than a year earlier due to drought. Maize output in Brazil is currently estimated at 25 percent below last year’s harvest.

Maize prices in Malawi, Swaziland, and Zambia remained relatively stable, decreasing slightly in Malawi but increasing slightly in Zambia. In all three countries, however, maize prices remain significantly above year-earlier levels due to the 2015-2016 El Niño cycle, which brought drought and reduced outputs throughout the region. In Nigeria, coarse grain prices remained relatively stable but are also at twice their year-earlier levels after increases driven mainly by a sharp depreciation in the Nigerian Naira. Despite a third consecutive decline in coarse grain prices in South Sudan, grain prices also remain two to three times their year-earlier level due to significant political instability earlier in the year.

At the sub-regional level, West Africa (with the exception of Nigeria) generally showed stable or declining cereal prices. This trend was driven by ample regional cereal supplies combined with generally favorable production prospects for 2016 as a whole. In most countries in the sub-region, prices were also below their year-earlier levels; for instance, millet and sorghum prices in Burkina Faso and Mali were relatively low due to good production outlooks. By contrast, in Nigeria, despite a generally good cereal harvest, prices remained high due to a weak currency and continuing security concerns in the northeastern regions of the country.

Prices in Southern Africa showed mixed trends in October. In South Africa, maize prices continued to decrease due to a strengthening of the rand. By contrast, in Swaziland, Malawi, and Zambia, cereal prices remained high due to the lingering effects of this year’s drought. In Namibia, prices continued to decline due to good production estimates while in Mozambique, maize prices increased due to tight domestic supplies. In Zimbabwe, maize prices remained below their year-earlier levels due to large import volumes driven by a strong US dollar, the main currency used in the country.

In Eastern Africa, cereal prices showed mixed trends and were at high levels in a number of countries. In Ethiopia, Uganda, and the Sudan, maize and millet prices decreased due to seasonal harvesting patterns. In Kenya, maize prices slightly increased on concerns over crop production due to erratic rainfall and pest infestation. In Somalia and Tanzania, prices generally remained relatively stable, reflecting adequate domestic availabilities.
Central America continues to recover from last year’s drought; maize prices dropped in most countries due to the on-going 2016 harvest. In contrast, maize prices increased significantly in Haiti due to the negative impact of Hurricane Matthew on food supplies and food production.

In East Asia, domestic rice prices decreased in the main rice-exporting countries but increased in Bangladesh. Good harvests and relatively low export demand supported decreases in rice prices in Vietnam, Myanmar, and Thailand. In India, prices decreased in October due to a bumper harvest, although price declines were limited due to strong government procurement purchases. In China, the Philippines, and Indonesia, rice prices stayed stable in October. In contrast, Bangladesh’s rice prices rose sharply due to reduced estimates for local harvests, low import levels, and moderate government purchases.

In South America, the price of maize and wheat showed mixed trends but remained high and above their year-earlier levels. In Argentina and Brazil, prices increased moderately, reflecting seasonal trends and concerns over this year’s harvests. In Chile and Peru, prices remained relatively stable but were high due to reduced 2016 harvests. In Bolivia, prices declined as new supplies entered the market but remained high due to drought-reduced production for 2016.

All the data used in the analysis can be found in the FPMA Tool.

Post new comment
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.