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FPMA Bulletin #2, 9 March 2018

Monthly Report on Food Price Trends











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    International prices of wheat and maize were generally firmer in January, supported by weather-related concerns and a weaker US dollar. Export price quotations of rice also strengthened mainly buoyed by renewed Asian demand. In East Africa, in the Sudan, prices of the main staples: sorghum, millet and wheat, rose sharply for the third consecutive month in January and reached record highs, underpinned by the removal of wheat subsidies and the strong depreciation of the Sudanese Pound. In West Africa, prices of coarse grains were at relatively high levels in January, despite the good harvests gathered in late 2017, due to strong demand for stock replenishment and insecurity in some areas.
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    International prices of coarse grains fell in April as maize harvests in Argentina and Brazil helped ease pressure on maize markets. By contrast, wheat prices edged upwards as global supply tightness persisted amidst the significantly reduced exports from Ukraine due to war-related impacts on export supply chains. For rice, strong Asian demand and weather setbacks in the Americas drove international prices up during April. In West Africa, new record high prices of coarse grains were reported in several countries, driven by a seasonal uptick in demand, lower cross‑border trade flows and higher international commodity prices. Conflicts in the Sahel and weak currencies in coastal countries added upward pressure on domestic prices. In East Africa, prices of coarse grains remained firm or increased further in April and continued to be well above their year-earlier levels across the subregion. Exceptionally high price levels continued to prevail in South Sudan and the Sudan. In Far East Asia, in Sri Lanka, prices of rice and wheat flour increased further in April to new highs mostly due to the sustained effects of precipitous currency depreciation and the below-average 2022 “Maha” crop output. In South America, prices of wheat in April remained significantly higher year on year and at record highs in some countries, owing to strong international demand in exporting countries and elevated international quotations in net-importing countries.
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    International prices of wheat and coarse grains surged in March as the reduced exports from the Russian Federation and Ukraine worsened already tight global availabilities. Contrasting trends were evident across the market segments for rice, but overall, prices moved little in March. Across most of West Africa, prices of coarse grains continued to increase and were significantly higher year on year, amid lower cross-border trade flows and higher international prices of maize. Additional price support came from reduced outputs in the Sahel as well as from solid export demand in the coastal countries. In East Africa, prices of coarse grains remained firm or increased in March and were generally well above their year-earlier levels. Exceptionally high prices prevailed in South Sudan and the Sudan. In Far East Asia, in Sri Lanka, prices of rice and wheat flour continued to increase in March to new highs due to the depreciation of the national currency and the below-average 2022 “Maha” crop output. For wheat, the firmness in international markets provided additional support. In South America, prices of wheat continued to rise in March to levels ranging from 25 to 75 percent higher year on year, to reach record highs in some countries. The high price levels are due to strong international demand in exporting countries and elevated international quotations in net-importing countries.

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