Global food prices held steady in August, says FAO


A vegetable seller in Mumbai, India's commercial capital. Photo/IAC

The FAO Food Price Index remained stable in August, as cereal prices rebounded while vegetable oils and sugar declined.

The monthly index, released on Thursday, averaged 167.6 points in August, virtually unchanged from its revised estimate for July and 5.4 percent below its level in August 2017, the UN food agency said in a statement.

The FAO Cereal Price Index rose 4.0 percent during the month, with wheat prices, rising twice as much due to deteriorating crop prospects in the European Union and the Russian Federation. International maize quotations rose by more than 3.0 percent while rice prices eased during the month.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Index declined 2.6 percent from July, nearing a three-year low as palm, soy and sunflower oil quotations all fell amid favourable production trends and, in the case of palm oil, weak global import demand. Lower quotations of soy oil mostly reflected strong crushing activities in the United States and Brazil, while the favourable crop outlooks in the Black Sea region underpinned the fresh fall in sunflower oil prices.

The FAO Dairy Price Index posted its third consecutive monthly decline in August, falling 1.5 percent amid relatively thin seasonal volumes. While droughts may adversely affect milk production growth in parts of Europe and Australia, New Zealand’s output prospects are improving.

The FAO Sugar Price Index dropped 5.4 percent from July to reach the lowest level in a decade, due largely to the continued depreciations of the currencies of major exporters Brazil and India. Concerns over production prospects in the EU and Asia, notably India and Indonesia, were not sufficient to offset the currency-induced downward pressure on international sugar prices.

The FAO Meat Price Index was broadly unchanged on the month, as pig meat and ovine meat quotations rose on strong import interests from China, offsetting declining poultry and bovine meat prices, with the latter under pressure by high export availabilities from the United States of America.

Prashant has worked in the publishing industry for 17 years. His keen interest in commodities developed while working for organisations such as like Thomson Reuters, Wolters Kluwer & McGraw-Hill eventually brought him here. In his free time, Prashant consults with businesses in the digital space.

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