Global food prices largely steady, as cheaper sugar and butter offset rising grains and palm oil

The FAO Food Price Index averaged 169.5 points in January, nearly unchanged from the previous month but almost 3 percent below the corresponding period last year, as rising prices for staple grains and palm oil were offset by declining quotations for sugar, butter and cheese.

The FAO Cereal Price Index rose almost 2.5 percent from December, as the effect of large supplies was more than offset by concerns over weather and a weaker U.S. dollar. The index, which covers wheat, rice and coarse grains including maize, is 6.3 percent higher than its January 2017 level.

FAO’s Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index tracking international market prices for five major food commodity groups.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index was virtually unchanged in January, as palm oil values rose moderately while those for sunflower and rapeseed oils weakened.

The FAO Dairy Price Index declined 2.4 percent from December 2017.  Lower international price quotations for butter and cheese – spurred by abundant supplies in the northern hemisphere and Australia – outweighed higher prices of milk powders.

The FAO Sugar Price Index declined 1.6 percent to more than 30 percent below its year-ago level, driven by strong production outcomes and consequently ample export availabilities.

The FAO Meat Price Index was almost unchanged month-on-month, as weak import demand for poultry and pig meat offset stronger demand for ovine meat and reduced quantities of bovine meat offered for sale from Oceania.

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