Food and Agriculture Organization food price index reaches lowest level since May last year
By Tuba Sahin
Global food prices in November slipped to their lowest level since May last year, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Thursday.
The food price index averaged 160.8 points in last month, down 2.1 percentage points or 1.3 percent from October, the FAO said in a statement.
The FAO Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index that tracks monthly changes in international market prices of five major food commodity groups.
The decrease in November was stemmed from marked drops for palm oil and other vegetable oils, the statement noted.
FAO said the vegetable oil price index hit a 12-year low, down 5.7 percent month-on-month in November.
“Large palm oil inventories and abundant supplies of soy and sunflower oils fueled the decline,” the statement read.
The dairy price index dropped for the six consecutive months, falling 3.3 percent or 6 points in November as large stocks and increased the availability of export supplies – especially from New Zealand – led to lower price quotations for butter, cheese and whole milk powder.
The cereal price index declined 1.1 percent on a monthly basis in November, reflecting large export supplies of wheat, intensified export competition for maize and new crop arrivals of rice.
The FAO Meat Price Index, averaging at 160 points, was marginally lower compared to the previous month.
“In November, international price quotations for poultry, pig and ovine meat continued to ease, with ovine meat falling the most, while those of bovine meat marginally recovered,” it said.
However, the sugar price index defied the downward trend and rose 4.4 percent in the month. This increase was mainly driven by a significant production decrease expected in Brazil.
The UN body is set to release the next global food prices data on January 10, 2019.