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Central America & Caribbean

Prices of white maize rose further in June and at levels well above those a year earlier

12/07/2018

In Central America, where the 2018 main harvest is expected to begin in late August, prices of white maize increased significantly in June and reached levels well above those a year earlier, due to seasonal trends exacerbated by higher import costs. In El Salvador and Honduras, prices of white maize rose by more than 10 percent and were around 50 percent higher than in June last year. The main drivers of the strong monthly gains and high level of prices were increased costs of inputs, mostly imported, and the sustained increase in international export prices of maize in the first five months of 2018, given these countries’ high dependency on imports, mainly from the Unites States of America. In Nicaragua, where prices of maize increased since the beginning of 2018, they rose further in June and at a steep rate, reaching levels 91 percent higher than those a year earlier, mainly due to the ongoing social unrest and increased input costs. In Guatemala, prices of white maize rose in line with seasonal trends and were only moderately higher than a year earlier, mainly as a result of steady imports from Mexico, which contributed to keep markets adequately supplied and ease upward pressure on prices. In Mexico, despite the ongoing harvest of the 2018 autumn-winter season crop, prices of white maize strengthened further in June and were higher than their year-earlier levels, sustained by concerns over a reduced output. In the Caribbean, prices of maize declined in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic reflecting improved supplies from the new harvests. Prices of beans remained relatively stable in June, with the notable exception of Nicaragua, where they increased by 15 percent over May and were more than one-third higher than in June last year, mainly due to the social unrest disrupting normal market functioning in the country. In El Salvador and Honduras, prices of red beans showed relatively little change and were only slightly higher than in June last year. In Guatemala, prices of black beans decreased slightly and were below their year-earlier levels, reflecting the good 2018 harvests and imports. In Costa Rica, prices of beans remained generally stable in June but were higher than a year earlier supported by the reduced 2018 harvest. In Mexico, prices of black beans declined and were lower compared to the same month last year, reflecting the good output of the autumn-winter harvest. In Haiti and in the Dominican Republic, prices of black beans remained mostly stable, sustained by adequate imports and localized domestic production.