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Central America & Caribbean

Prices of maize declined sharply in October but still high year-on-year

06/11/2018

In most countries of the subregion, prices of white maize decreased sharply in October as a result of improved supplies from the recently-completed 2018 main season harvest. In Nicaragua and Honduras, prices of white maize decreased by 28 percent and about 20 percent, respectively. Also in El Salvador, prices declined significantly. However, in these countries, prices were still well above their levels a year earlier, after the sustained increases of the past several months triggered by high input costs and concerns over reduced main season output, due to a prolonged dry spell between June and August. Rainfall improved somewhat in September and October, benefiting prospects for the secondary season crops recently planted or soon to be planted. In Guatemala, prices of white maize also declined seasonally in October with the 2018 first season harvest from northern and southern producing areas as well as imports from Mexico. However, they were 20 percent above those a year earlier mainly reflecting the drought-affected 2018 production. In Mexico, prices of maize declined slightly in October as a result of improved supplies from the minor winter season harvest. However, they were 16 percent higher their year-earlier levels reflecting concerns over a year-on-year reduced aggregate production due to a slight contraction in plantings and excessive rainfalls affecting crops of the main summer season, harvesting of which has recently commenced. Regarding beans, in Guatemala, prices of black beans declined slightly in October and were 20 percent below those a year earlier reflecting good supplies in collection centers in the north and in the east of the country, coupled with the new harvests in the Jutiapa and Chiquimula departments. In Mexico, prices of black beans remained relatively stable in October and were generally down from a year earlier mainly reflecting the year-on-year increase in output of the minor winter season. By contrast, in El Salvador, prices of red beans strengthened in October and were slightly above those a year earlier reflecting concerns over the main season output affected by torrential rainfalls in the first dekad of October. In Nicaragua, prices of red beans were virtually unchanged and slightly lower than in October last year as a result of the good 2018 first season harvest. By contrast, in Honduras, prices of red beans increased markedly due to reduced imports from Nicaragua. In the Dominican Republic, retail prices of red and black beans eased in October, while prices of rice strengthened somewhat and were above their levels a year earlier. In Haiti, prices of black beans and maize meal in the Port-au-Prince market declined with the summer season harvest in September and were lower than a year earlier, while prices of mostly imported rice increased and were higher than a year earlier mainly due to a weaker local currency.