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Central America and the Caribbean

Prices of maize generally high, while those of beans down from a year earlier

12/03/2019

In several countries of the subregion, prices of white maize continued to strengthen in February in line with seasonal trends, and were generally above their year-earlier levels due to drought-induced losses to the 2018 main season harvests and increased input costs. In Honduras and Nicaragua, prices were more than 20 percent higher year on year, while in El Salvador, prices were more than 70 percent higher than their low levels of a year earlier. In Guatemala, prices of white maize also strengthened seasonally in February, but imports from Mexico limited the upward pressure. Prices were nearly 30 percent higher than their relatively low level a year earlier, mainly due to localized production losses to the 2018 main season output. In Mexico, where the main spring-summer harvest is virtually complete, prices of maize remained relatively stable but were more than 10 percent higher year on year, supported by a contraction in the 2018 output. Regarding beans, prices were generally lower than a year earlier reflecting adequate subregional supplies. In Guatemala, prices of black beans increased slightly in February but were more than 10 percent down from their year-earlier levels, pressured by the good 2018 output. By contrast, in Mexico, prices of black beans generally declined with the recent harvest, while in Costa Rica and in the Dominican Republic, prices were relatively stable and down from a year earlier. In Nicaragua, the largest producer and exporter of red beans in the subregion, prices decreased in February with the recent main postrera harvest and were more than 10 percent below their values a year earlier. Prices remained relatively stable and lower than in the corresponding month last year also in El Salvador and Honduras. With regard to rice, in Mexico, wholesale prices strengthened further in February to levels above those a year earlier, mainly due to lower imports. By contrast, in Costa Rica and Panama, prices of rice were stable and around their year-earlier levels, while in the Dominican Republic they were slightly higher.