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East Africa Cross Border Trade Bulletin (January 2021, Volume 32)

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  • Maize grain was the main commodity traded in the region between October and December 2020 (fourth quarter of 2020) followed by dry beans, rice and sorghum as shown in Figure 1.

  • Regional cross border trade for most commodities increased between the third and fourth quarters of 2020 and driven by trader adaptations to operating under COVID-19 movement restrictions, increased demand in South Sudan due to relative calm, and increased import demand in Kenya in anticipation of increased import requirements later in 2021.

  • Livestock exports from East Africa to the Middle East declined in 2020 due to reduced demand linked to COVID-19. Livestock trade declined more than usual along all trading corridors following the end of the September high season, when trade often persists following the conclusion of Hajj religious festivities in the Middle East.

  • Staple food commodity parity price trends (expressed in US dollars per MT) followed seasonal trends during the fourth quarter of 2020. Prices remained high in Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan relative to historical levels because of insecurity and high inflation. Prices trends are expected to vary across the region in the next nine months, trending seasonably.