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Prices of maize declining and below the high levels a year earlier

09/10/2019

Prices of maize declined seasonally in September with harvesting of the 2019 main season maize crops currently underway and were overall down from the high levels a year earlier, which were instigated by strong input and production costs as well as by drought affected 2018 harvests, particularly in the "Dry Corridor" area. In Guatemala, prices of white maize declined for the second consecutive month in September, reflecting improved market supplies from the harvest in the southern and eastern key producing areas, which started in the second half of August, and imports from Mexico. Prices were slightly down from a year earlier. Similarly, in El Salvador and Honduras, prices continued to decline in September and were around 10 percent below the high levels a year earlier. In Nicaragua, prices eased only moderately in September with the start of the main harvest after increasing in the past three months. The seasonal downward pressure was limited by concerns over the impact of adverse weather on crops in some areas. Prices, however, were well below the all-time highs of a year earlier, when increased input costs and social turmoil had sparked the sharp price increases. In Mexico, where the main season crop is at the grain-filling stage, prices of white maize eased for the second consecutive month in September pressured by the above-average output of the minor season harvest, completed in July. In the Caribbean, prices of maize declined in the Dominican Republic in the past few months and also in some markets in Haiti in August with new supplies from the main harvest. However, in the latter, a reduced output due to dry weather and a weak currency kept prices well above those a year earlier, including those of staple food rice. With regard to beans, concerns over the impact of dry conditions on the current harvests limited the decline in prices of red beans in Nicaragua, kept prices steady in Honduras and underpinned unseasonal price increases in El Salvador. In Guatemala, prices of black beans strengthened for the third consecutive month despite the ongoing harvest, mainly because of the small volume of beans produced during this season. In Mexico, prices were stable and lower than in September last year. In the Caribbean, prices of black beans strengthened in the Dominican Republic, while they generally declined in Haiti reflecting improved supplies from the main season harvest and imports. Prices, however, were well above their year-earlier values due to the reduced output affected by dryness, compounded by the poor macro-economic situation.