World Food Commodity Prices Surge in April

Gilbert Ekugbe 

The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Food Price Index (FPI) has showed that world food commodity prices edged higher in April as a result of rising meat prices and modest upticks for vegetable oils and cereals that offset decreases for sugar and dairy products.

The UN food body’s FPI, which tracked monthly changes in the international prices of a set of globally traded food commodities, averaged 119.1 points in April, up 0.3 percent from its revised March level, while down 9.6 percent from its year-on-year level.

The FAO Cereal Price Index rose 0.3 per cent from March, ending a three-month declining trajectory while global wheat export prices stabilised in April as strong competition among major exporters offset concerns about unfavorable crop conditions in parts of the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United States of America. 

FAO attributed the increase in maize export prices to high demand amidst mounting logistical infrastructural damages in Ukraine and concerns about the production in Brazil ahead of the main harvest while its All-Rice Price Index declined by 1.8 per cent, due largely to falls in Indica quotations driven by harvest pressure.

The statement also attributed the 0.3 per cent increase in March to higher quotations for sunflower and rapeseed oil offseted slightly lower prices for palm and soy oil.

The FAO Meat Price Index increased by 1.6 per cent in April from the previous month, as international poultry, bovine and ovine meat prices all rose as world pig meat prices fell marginally, reflecting slack internal demand in Western Europe and persistently lacklustre demand from leading importers, especially China.

Its Sugar Price Index declined 4.4 per cent from March to stand 14.7 per cent below its April 2023 level, saying that the decrease was mostly related to improved global supply prospects, notably due to larger-than-previously-anticipated outputs in India and Thailand and improved weather conditions in Brazil.

FAO noted that its Dairy Price Index decreased marginally, by 0.3 per cent, ending six consecutive months of increases, led by sluggish spot import demand for skim milk powder and by lower world cheese prices, impacted by the strengthening of the United States dollar. 

World butter prices, by contrast, increased amid steady import demand.

For its 2024 forecast for wheat, it also released a new cereal supply and demand brief, slightly raising its forecast for the world total cereal production in 2023 to 2 846 million tonnes, a 1.2 per cent increase from the previous year, maintaining that the revision primarily reflects new information from Myanmar and Pakistan.

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