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Central America and the Caribbean

Prices of maize continue to decline seasonally and overall lower year on year

10/12/2019

Prices of white maize continued to decrease seasonally across most of the subregion in November with the entry into the markets of the new product from the 2019 main season harvests. In Guatemala, the decline in prices that started in August continued in November reflecting improved supplies from the main season harvest and imports from Mexico. Similarly, in El Salvador, prices declined for the fourth consecutive month in November on account of good domestic supplies from the main season output and imports from the United States of America. In both countries, prices were down from a year earlier. In Nicaragua, a nearly 20 percent drop in November, which followed a sharp fall already in October, pushed prices of white maize down to levels well below those a year earlier. By contrast, in Honduras, after two months of sharp declines, prices remained relatively stable in November and were higher year on year, mainly due to the below-average main season harvest which was affected by drought. In Mexico, the downward pressure on prices from the ongoing main season harvest was partly offset by the expected decline in output following reduced rainfall in the June-August period, which led to a contraction in plantings and lower yields (GIEWS Country Brief). In the Caribbean, while prices of yellow maize continued to decline in the Dominican Republic with increased imports, prices of maize meal rose in Haiti in October and were significantly higher than their values a year earlier on account of reduced market availabilities and a weak local currency. The latter also kept prices of rice, mostly imported, at levels well above those in October last year. With regard to beans, prices of red beans declined in El Salvador with the early harvest of the main season crop. By contrast, prices increased sharply for the second consecutive month in Honduras and Nicaragua, where they reached levels about 30 and 40 percent higher year on year, respectively. The recent sharp increases reflect seasonal trends compounded by below-average minor season harvests and localized heavy rainfall affecting the development of the main season crops, about to be harvested. In Guatemala, prices of black beans, on the increase since July, continued to rise in November, but they are expected to decline with the recently-started main season harvest. In Mexico, prices of black beans remained relatively stable in November, as good domestic availabilities mostly offset the upward pressure from the unfavourable production prospects for the current season. In the Caribbean, retail prices of black beans generally increased in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic and were higher year on year.