Bilans régionaux


Price declines eased as harvest pressure subsided


Prices of maize remained generally stable or declined further in June, while a few markets registered price gains as the seasonal pressure eased with the end of the 2020 main harvest period. It appears that the COVID-19 containment measures have had limited impact on prices. However, on the consumer side, the restrictions and overall economic downturn, resulting in loss of income, affected the ability of households to access food. In South Africa, prices of maize grain fell further in June with the arrival of new supplies from the 2020 harvest, which is estimated to be the second largest on record. A modest strengthening of the country’s currency in June weighed further on prices. Prices of wheat, which had reached record highs in May due to the significant depreciation of the country’s currency, fell in June in response to the recent currency appreciation and lower prices in the international market. In Zambia, prices of maize grain and maize products continued to decline in June pressured by the 2020 harvest, estimated at a well above-average level. However, the generally high inflation rates contributed to sustaining higher year-on-year prices. In Malawi, following abrupt seasonal decreases in the preceding months, prices of maize grain generally increased in June as the harvest pressure subsided. The country is estimated to have produced an above-average maize output, which pushed prices down to comparable levels with the corresponding month last year. In Mozambique, price movements in June were mixed and prices on a yearly basis remained higher, due to overall tight domestic supplies, after a reduced output in 2019 and a near-average harvest in 2020. In Zimbabwe, prices of cereals continued to increase in May. However, the increases were more subdued than the preceding months and prices of some cereal products also declined, partly reflecting a boost in supplies from the 2020 harvest. Prices have reached exceptionally high levels driven by the difficult macro-economic situation, mainly due to the weak and depreciating currency. The below-average cereal output in 2020 and the restrictions on informal food markets due to the COVID-19 containment measures also supported the high level of prices. In the import-dependent countries, Botswana, Eswatini and Namibia, prices of maize meal were generally stable, but are likely to come under downward pressure in the coming months reflecting lower prices in South Africa, the main source of grains of these countries.