Global food prices rise in May, led by surging sugar – FAO

The FAO Food Price Index rose in May for the fourth month in a row, increasing by 2.1 percent from April to 155.8 points – still some 7 percent below the level reported one year ago, the UN food agency said.

It said prices rose across the index – a trade-weighted index tracking international market prices for the cereals, vegetable oils, dairy, meat and sugar commodity groups – with the exception of vegetable oils, which subsided after a strong hike in April.

The FAO Sugar Price Index led the increase, surging 11.7 percent from the previous month, as deteriorating production prospects in India, the world’s number two sugar producer, outweighed a bumper crop and large export availabilities in Brazil, the leading producer.

The FAO Cereal Price Index rose 1.6 percent from April, led by a sharp increase in maize prices and buoyed by stronger quotations for Indica and aromatic rice varieties.

The FAO Meat Price Index rose 2 percent, spurred by brisk import demand from Asia for pigmeat from the European Union.

The FAO Dairy Price Index, which is 24 percent below its level of a year-ago, also eked out a 0.4 percent increase thanks to improved prices in the EU and sustained international demand for whole milk powder and butter.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index declined 1.8 percent, as palm oil receded after three months of sharp gains. Import demand for the food industry mainstay was weaker than anticipated in China, India and the EU.

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