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Central America and the Caribbean

Prices of maize under seasonal upward pressure

10/05/2019

Prices of white maize remained under upward pressure in April in line with seasonal trends, although increases were limited by near-average domestic supplies from the 2018/19 main and second season harvests. In Guatemala, prices of white maize increased slightly in April and were only 8 percent above their levels a year earlier as imports from Mexico and supplies from northern producing areas contributed to limit seasonal upward pressure. In Honduras, prices also strengthened somewhat but were lower than in April last year. By contrast, in El Salvador, prices were still more than 30 percent higher than a year earlier despite some recent weakening, underpinned by last year’s localized crop losses and increased fuel prices. In Nicaragua, prices declined sharply in April, more than reversing the significant increase of the previous two months, mainly as a result of the new supplies from the recent third “apante” season harvest (GIEWS Country Brief). In Mexico, prices of white maize strengthened in April despite the ongoing minor “autumn/winter” harvest, and were above their year-earlier levels supported by a contraction in the 2018 output. Prices of locally-produced maize increased seasonally also in Haiti, with planting activities of the 2019 main “spring” season currently ongoing. With regard to beans, prices were generally lower than a year earlier reflecting good subregional supplies from the recent harvests. In Nicaragua, prices of red beans decreased in April with good supplies from the “apante” harvest and were down from a year earlier on account of good domestic availabilities. Similarly, in El Salvador and Honduras, prices of red beans were lower than in April last year. In Guatemala, prices of black beans declined slightly in April as a result of the new supplies from northern producing areas and were down from a year earlier. Prices of black beans declined also in Mexico and Costa Rica. In the Caribbean, prices of black beans in the Dominican Republic remained stable, while they increased seasonally in Haiti. With regard to rice, in several countries of the subregion the main crop has been planted or is entering the early development stage. In Costa Rica, prices of rice remained generally stable and near their year-earlier levels, mainly reflecting imports. Prices remained overall stable and around their year-earlier values in El Salvador and Honduras, also on account of steady flows of imports and in Nicaragua as a result of the good 2018/19 harvests. In the Caribbean, prices of rice were slightly higher year on year in the Dominican Republic, while in Haiti, despite some recent declines, prices of mostly imported rice were well above their year-earlier levels, mainly due to the significant depreciation of the country’s currency in recent months.