Photo Credit: Neil Palmer/CIAT

The November edition of the FAO GIEWS Food Price Monitoring and Analysis (FPMA) bulletin was released last week. The report finds that global cereal markets continued to be mixed in October.

The benchmark US hard wheat price fell by almost 1 percent due to higher supply estimates and improved weather conditions in key producing regions; however, this price remains 11 percent higher than its October 2016 levels. Wheat prices in the Black Sea region and Argentina rose slightly due to strong export demand and excessive rainfall, respectively.

Movements in rice prices were similarly mixed in October. The FAO Rice Price Index rose 3 percent from September due to declining supplies of fragrant and medium/short grain rice. Prices also rose in Vietnam as a result of flooding and subsequent crop losses. In India, however, prices fell as a result of currency movements; prices also declined in Thailand and Pakistan due to falling demand.

The price of benchmark US maize rose by more than 1 percent in October due to excessive rainfall that delayed harvests. However, large global supplies limited this price increase. In Ukraine, maize export prices fell significantly due to an anticipated above-average harvest. Similarly, maize prices in South America fell as a result of abundant supplies.

The FPMA report also provides early warnings for high country-level food prices that may negatively affect food security. This month’s report included several domestic price warnings for the FSP’s prioritized countries.

In Bangladesh, rice prices remain at near-record highs despite recent declines. Overall rice prices in the country have been steadily increasing since mid-2016 as a result of reduced outputs and lower imports; severe flooding in early 2017 has also affected already tight supplies and high prices. The Government of Bangladesh has established higher imports, reduced customs duties, and open market rice sales to try to ease prices.

In Nigeria, the price of coarse grains and rice declined or remained relatively stable in September. Ongoing harvests and some recent stabilization of the Nigerian Naira have contributed to the downward pressure on food. However, food prices remain high overall, particularly in the northeastern areas of the country. Annual food inflation in September was at 20.3 percent.

While prices in Ethiopia are showing signs of seasonal decline, they remain at record or near-record highs for maize, wheat, teff, and sorghum. Poor recent harvests, increased exports to neighboring Kenya, and concern over the ongoing Fall Armyworm infestation have contributed to these high prices. The Government of Ethiopia has been undertaking monitoring and control measures to help fight the pest infestation.

By: Sara Gustafson, IFPRI

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