Global food prices continue rising in October

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Global food prices continued rising for the fifth consecutive month in October, led by cereals, sugar, dairy and vegetable oils, according to a new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks international prices of the most traded food commodities, averaged 100.9 points in October 2020, up 3.1 percent from September and 6.0 percent above its value in October 2019.

The FAO Cereal Price Index climbed 7.2 percent from the previous month and 16.5 percent above its value in October 2019. The surge was mainly driven by wheat prices amid shrinking export availabilities, poor growing conditions in Argentina and continued dry weather affecting winter wheat sowings in Europe, North America and the Black Sea region.  Maize, feed barley and sorghum prices also remained under upward pressure in October, while those of rice subsided.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index gained 1.8 percent during the month, posting a nine-month high, led by firmer palm and soy oil prices. By contrast, rapeseed oil prices declined moderately amid increased uncertainty regarding demand in the European Union (EU) following the recent deterioration of the COVID-19 situation across the region.

The FAO Dairy Price Index rose 2.2 percent from September, with cheese rising the most, followed by skim milk powder, whole milk powder and butter. Price increases in October reflected market tightening for near-term deliveries, underpinned by robust import demand from Asian and Middle Eastern markets.

The FAO Sugar Price Index increased 7.6 percent from September ­- a move largely influenced by the prospects of a lower sugar output in both Brazil and India – the two largest sugar producing countries in the world.

The FAO Meat Price Index, by contrast, declined 0.5 percent from September, marking the ninth monthly decline since January, driven by drop in pig meat prices reflecting in part continued influence of the import restrictions imposed by China on Germany. Bovine and poultry meat prices also fell, while prices of ovine meat rose on steady internal demand and low export supplies. 

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