Regional Roundups


Central America and the Caribbean

Prices of white maize and beans generally stable in February


In most countries of the subregion, prices of white maize were broadly stable in February and down from a year earlier on account of overall adequate domestic availabilities. In Guatemala, prices remained virtually unchanged in February and were slightly below their year-earlier levels as a result of satisfactory market availabilities stemming from the central and northern producing regions and imports from Mexico. Similarly, in El Salvador, prices remained relatively stable and were some 20 percent below those a year earlier, reflecting the year-on-year higher maize output in 2019. After the significant upturn in prices of January, the start of the “apante” season harvest led to a weakening in prices of maize in Honduras and prevented further sharp increases in Nicaragua. In Mexico, a reduced output from the main season harvest, recently completed, offset the seasonal downward pressure on prices, which remained unchanged in February. In Haiti, prices of locally produced maize meal remained relatively stable in January, but above their year-earlier levels after the sharp increases in the first half of 2019, driven by the reduced crop last year. With regard to beans, prices of red beans declined significantly in Nicaragua, as a result of new supplies from the “apante” main harvest, accounting for about 40 percent of the aggregate national output. Prices decreased further or remained relatively stable in El Salvador and Honduras, reflecting good availabilities from the recent harvests. Prices of black beans were stable in Guatemala, with markets well supplied by the good crop gathered in late 2019. Similarly, in Costa Rica, prices of black beans held relatively steady in February with availabilities from the recent second season harvest supplying markets. In the Caribbean, in Haiti, prices of black beans decreased in January in the main producing North and Grand-Anse departments, with new supplies from the third “autumn” season crop. However, prices remained above the corresponding month in 2019 due to the reduced first and second season outputs. In the Dominican Republic, prices of black beans were stable in February but higher than a year earlier after the increases in late 2019.