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Prices of beans continued to increase in June and reached record highs in some countries

14/07/2020

In most countries of the subregion, after the spikes in the March-April period triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, prices of maize eased for the second consecutive month in June, on account of adequate domestic availabilities. Prices decreased to levels below those in June last year in El Salvador, while in Honduras, the reduced 2019 output kept prices higher than a year earlier although weakening in the past two months. Prices declined also in Mexico, reflecting improved market availabilities from the ongoing 2020 minor season harvest. Prices held steady and around their year-earlier levels in Guatemala, mainly as a result of imports from Mexico. In Nicaragua, prices increased but only moderately compared to the past months and were nearly 20 percent above their year-earlier levels. With regard to beans, prices continued to increase in June and at a steep rate, reaching levels well above those a year earlier. In Nicaragua, the key producer and exporter of red beans in the subregion, prices increased sharply for the third consecutive month and reached record levels, twice those of a year earlier, mainly supported by strong foreign demand exacerbating the seasonal patterns. In neighbouring countries, prices of red beans increased further in El Salvador and were 60 percent higher than in June last year, underpinned by seasonally tighter domestic availabilities and costlier imports from Nicaragua. Similarly, in Honduras, prices of red beans increased significantly, with seasonal trends compounded by logistic disruptions and higher prices in the subregional export market. In Guatemala, sustained demand, coupled with slow farmer selling, contributed to further increase the prices of black beans, which, although growing to a lesser extent than in the past two months, reached record highs in June. Significant price increases were recorded for rice in the second half of the month on a combination of seasonal factors and reduced imports. In the Caribbean, in Haiti, prices of maize continued to generally increase in May, with the seasonal pressure exacerbated by concerns over the impact of poor precipitation on the 2020 first season crops. Prices of black beans followed mixed trends across the country after the sustained increases in the past three months but remained overall well above their values in May last year. The application of restrictive measures and trade disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the high level of staple food prices. In the Dominican Republic, retail prices of black beans increased in June, and were some 30 percent above those a year earlier due to strong demand and a weaker currency, increasing production costs.