Global food commodity prices rose for the ninth consecutive month in February, with quotations for sugar and vegetable oils increasing the most, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said on Thursday.
The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly-traded food commodities, averaged 116.0 points in February, 2.4 percent higher than the previous month and up 26.5 percent from a year ago.
The FAO Sugar Price Index rose by 6.4 percent from January, as production declines in key producing countries together with strong import demand from Asia prompted ongoing concerns over tighter global supplies. Expectations of a production recovery in Thailand and a bumper crop in India dampened the increase.
The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index gained 6.2 percent, reaching its highest level since April 2012. Prices for palm, soy, rape and sunflower seed oils all rose.
The FAO Dairy Price Index rose by 1.7 percent, led by international export quotations for butter, where firm imports by China met limited supplies from Western Europe. Cheese prices declined, partly due to high inventories in the United States of America.
The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 1.2 percent higher than in January. Sorghum prices rose 17.4 percent in the month, driven by ongoing strong demand from China. International prices of maize, wheat and rice were either stable or edged up slightly.
The FAO Meat Price Index increased 0.6 percent, pushed higher by tight supplies of bovine and ovine meats in key producing regions. By contrast, pig meat price quotations fell, underpinned by reduced purchases by China amidst heavy oversupplies and a rise in unsold pigs in Germany due to the continued ban on exports to Asian markets.