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Prices of yellow maize weakened in Argentina and Brazil

07/11/2018

In the key producers of the subregion, Argentina and Brazil, prices of yellow maize declined in October mainly as a result of a strengthening of the local currencies and overall favourable production prospects for the 2019 crops, currently being planted. A slowdown in demand also weighed on prices. However, prices remained well above their year-earlier values, sustained by the reduced 2018 outputs and weak currencies. In Argentina, prices of yellow maize declined for the first time in more than a year, but remained more than twice their year-earlier levels. In Brazil, prices declined in October but were still some 30 percent higher than a year earlier. In Bolivia (Plurinational State of), prices of yellow maize increased in the key producing Department of Santa Cruz in October, due to a shortfall in the secondary winter output, affected by severe dry weather in June and July. Prices, however, remained overall well below their year-earlier levels. In Chile, prices increased seasonally in October and were 10 percent higher than a year-earlier, despite large imports since the beginning of the marketing year in April, mainly due to a weaker currency. In Colombia, prices of maize declined in October with the first main season harvest, recently completed. While prices of yellow maize were generally lower on a yearly basis, reflecting adequate imports, those of white maize were higher sustained by the unfavourable production prospects due to dry weather. In Paraguay, prices of yellow maize declined slightly with the good 2018 zafriña harvest that was completed in August. Prices declined also in Uruguay in October mainly on account of imports, while they increased in Peru and were higher than a year earlier reflecting trends in the international market. Regarding wheat, prices increased further in Argentina in October and were at record highs. A reduction in the 2018 production forecast due to dryness and frost in some major producing regions contributed to the increase in prices. By contrast, in Brazil, prices of wheat grain decreased seasonally in October, with the progress of the 2018 harvest. However, they remained well above their levels a year earlier. In Bolivia (Plurinational State of), prices of locally-produced and imported wheat flour strengthened and were higher than in October last year, supported by higher prices in Argentina, the country’s main supplier, as well as a decline in output. In Chile, prices of wheat grain increased seasonally in October and were 30 percent above their year-earlier levels, mainly reflecting costlier imports, particularly from Argentina, which contributes to about 50 percent of the total imports. In Peru and Ecuador, prices of wheat flour remained unchanged in October and around their values a year earlier. With regards to rice, in Brazil, the subregion’s largest producer, prices of paddy continued to increase seasonally in October, with planting of the new season crops currently ongoing, under generally favourable weather conditions in the main producing State of Rio Grande do Sul. In Bolivia (Plurinational State of), prices of rice strengthened seasonally in the key producing Department of Santa Cruz, but remained down from a year earlier. In Colombia and Peru, prices of rice remained mostly stable in October, while they declined in Ecuador to levels well below those a year earlier. In Uruguay, where the 2019 season planting has recently completed, prices increased in line with seasonal trends and were 16 percent above those a year earlier, sustained by a reduced 2018 output.