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Prices of wheat and yellow maize on the increase in key producing countries

12/02/2020

In the key producing countries of the subregion, prices of wheat increased seasonally in January, while they declined where the harvests were nearing completion. In Argentina, the main producer of the subregion, wholesale prices of wheat increased seasonally in January, after declining in the previous two months with the 2019 harvest which is estimated to be a record crop. Prices were higher than a year earlier amidst strong exports and high general inflation, which also sustained higher year on year prices of wheat flour in the retail market. Similarly, in Brazil, prices of wheat increased in line with seasonal trends and were slightly higher than a year earlier. By contrast, in Uruguay, prices of wheat dropped sharply in January with the recently harvested 2019 crop but remained higher, year on year, sustained by strong exports. Also in Chile, prices of wheat declined in January, with supplies boosted by the harvest nearing completion and imports. In importing countries, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, prices held relatively steady in January and were, in general, around their year-earlier levels. With regard to yellow maize, prices increased in key producing countries, Argentina and Brazil, mainly underpinned by strong exports during the month, while elsewhere, prices moved in line with seasonal trends. In Argentina, where planting of the 2020 crop is nearly completed, prices strengthened in January and were well above their values a year earlier, supported by strong overseas buying. In Brazil, prices of yellow maize also increased despite the ongoing first season harvest due to record export sales during the month and reduced crop yields in some producing areas. In Bolivia (Plurinational State of), wholesale prices of maize increased in January in the main producing region of Santa Cruz and were higher year on year due to the reduced 2019 output. Similarly, in Ecuador, prices of yellow maize increased seasonally in January but were around their year-earlier levels on adequate supplies from the above-average 2019 crop. By contrast, prices declined in Chile and were lower on a year basis, mainly reflecting increased imports in the last quarter of 2019. In Colombia, prices of yellow maize declined in major markets, as the ongoing second season harvest exerted downward pressure. In Peru, prices were stable in January and down from a year earlier. With regard to rice, in Brazil, the subregion’s main producer and consumer, prices of rice strengthened seasonally in January in the key producing Rio Grande do Sul State. In Colombia, prices rose significantly for the third consecutive month in January after unfavourable weather conditions affected the minor season crops currently being harvested. Increased production costs contributed to the upward pressure on prices, which reached values above those a year earlier. Prices of rice were higher, year on year, also in Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Peru and Uruguay mostly due to the reduced outputs in 2019.