Publication: Integrating Central American and International Food Markets : An Analysis of Food Price Transmission in Honduras and Nicaragua

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Arias, Diego
De Franco, Mario A.
In 2004 the Central American countries of Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic signed the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) with the United States and are currently negotiating another agreement with the European Union and others. This study examines the dynamics among international and domestic food markets by assessing the transmission of international prices to domestic prices of key agriculture commodities in Honduras and Nicaragua. It analyzes to what degree, if at all, a change in the international price of a given food product influences the domestic price of that same good, at the level of the consumer and producer and in different regions in each country. This analysis provides important evidence of the price dynamics that guide public policy recommendations for a complementary agenda of agriculture trade liberaliza-tion in the region. There are two methods for analyzing the relationship between international and domestic prices. The first is to conduct a price wedge analysis-to evaluate the difference between international and domestic prices. The second method is to conduct a price transmission analysis by analyzing the variation in the percent growth of international versus domestic prices. Evidence from Nicaragua suggests that for most of the agriculture supply chains studied (except for beans) there is little competition in the country's domestic market structure. A few Nicaraguan companies own the majority share of the market, both to purchase and export agricultural products and to import and sell food domestically. Obtaining information about the structure of domestic agriculture and food markets could shed light on country-specific impediments from domestic market structure to increasing agriculture growth, reducing poverty, and improving rural competitiveness. Information on domestic market structure was difficult to obtain for this study, particularly for Honduras. But, even in a context where the domestic market structure concentrates purchasing and selling power in a few agribusiness companies, price transmission could be high.
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Arias, Diego; De Franco, Mario A.. 2011. Integrating Central American and International Food Markets : An Analysis of Food Price Transmission in Honduras and Nicaragua. LCSSD occasional paper series on food prices;. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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