Global food prices rose for the ninth conservative month in February, led by sugar and vegetable oils, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations has said.
The FAO said this in its Food Price Index report released on Thursday. The index tracks international prices of most commonly traded food commodities.
The FAO Food Price Index averaged 116.0 points in February, 2.4 per cent higher than the previous month and 26.5 per cent from a year ago.
In the report, the FAO Sugar Price Index rose by 6.4 per cent from January, as production declined 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,” it said.
The report said the FAO Oil Price Index gained 6.2 per cent reaching its highest level since April 2012.
“Prices for palm, soy, rape and sunflower seed oils all rose,” it said.
According to the report, the FAO Dairy Price Index rose by 1.7 per cent 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,” it said.
It said the FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 1.2 per cent higher than in January.
“Sorghum prices rose 17.4 per cent 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 report said.
In the report, the FAO Meat Price Index increased 0.6 per cent 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 over supplies and a rise in unsold pigs in Germany due to the continued ban on exports to Asian markets,” it said.
Meanwhile, it said the Global wheat production in 2021 is likely to increase and hit a new record of 780 million tonnes.
It said the maize production in South Africa is expected to reach a near-record level in 2021 while outputs in South America are forecast at well above average levels.
While the Global cereal stocks are forecast to end 2021 at 811 million tonnes, 0.9 per cent below their opening levels pushing down the stock to use the ratio to 28.6 per cent.
“World rice and wheat stocks are expected to increase while those of coarse grains to decline,” it said.