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Export prices of wheat and maize dropped further in April, while those of rice unchanged

International cereal prices

Export prices of wheat continued to decline in April, with the benchmark US wheat (No.2 Hard Red Winter, f.o.b.) averaging USD 223 per tonne, nearly 5 percent down from its level in March and more than 11 percent lower than its value in April last year. The general decline is the result of ample exportable supplies and the favourable outlook for the 2019 output, reflecting the overall good crop conditions in the Northern Hemisphere countries and expectations of increased plantings in Australia and Argentina. In the United States of America and in the Black Sea region, a slow pace of exports also weighed on prices, while in the European Union, stronger exports provided some upward pressure.

Export prices of maize decreased for the second consecutive month in April. The benchmark US maize (No.2, Yellow, f.o.b.) averaged USD 161 per tonne, down by more than 3 percent from the previous month and nearly 8 percent below its level in April last year. In the United States of America, prices fell on account of a slow pace in sales and export competition from South American countries. However, continued concerns over planting delays and a reduction in area due to excessively wet conditions limited the decline in prices. In Argentina and Brazil, prices decreased significantly in April to levels well below those a year earlier as a result of harvest pressure and good production prospects, while in Ukraine, the general month-on-month downward pressure was more than offset by strong exports.

The FAO All Rice Price Index (2002-04=100) averaged 222.2 points in April, virtually unchanged from its value a month earlier. In Asia, quotations of Indica rice tended to increase in most countries, except in India and Myanmar, where prices dipped on poor buying interest and pressure from offseason harvests. In Thailand, concerns over water supplies for irrigation lent support to export prices, whereas gains in Pakistan came in the wake of increases to fuel costs and sales to East Africa and China (Mainland). With the end of the winter-spring harvest in sight, demand from the Philippines also prolonged the recovery of Vietnamese export values. In the United States of America, prices of long-grain rice edged down, while they strengthened in Brazil and Argentina due to stronger demand.