ROME – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations published on Thursday its latest food price index, an international trade-weighted market price mechanism for five major food commodity groups, which in January showed hardly any change on the previous month.
The Food Index averaged 169.5 points, nearly 3 percent below its level a year ago, as rising prices for staple grains and palm oil were offset by declining quotations for sugar, butter and cheese, while meat quotations remained steady.
“Global markets of all major cereals remain well balanced, supported by record inventory levels,” stated FAO’s new Cereal Supply and Demand Brief.
Also, according to the FAO’s latest cereal supply and demand latest brief, the current marketing season (2017/18) may end with record inventory levels for wheat and maize of nearly 3.3 billion tons, after better-than-earlier-expected harvests.
The stocks-to-use ratio, detailing the state of global supplies, was expected to rise to its highest level since 2002.
According to the FAO Cereal Price Index rose almost 2.5 percent from December, as the effect of large supplies was more than offset by concerns over weather and a weaker United States dollar.
International rice values continued to firm up in January, sustained mainly by renewed Asian demand.
The FAO Meat Price Index averaged 170.6 points in January, almost unchanged from its slightly revised value for December 2017.
International price quotations for poultry and pigmeat continued sliding due to higher export availabilities amid weak import demand. Prices of beef were up marginally, reflecting lower quantities offered for sale from Oceania, while ovine meat (lamb) rose supported by strong international demand, mainly from Asia and the Middle East.
A slight drop was noted in the FAO Dairy Price Index averaging 179.9 points in January, down 2.4 percent (4.5 points) from December 2017.
Abundant milk supplies in the northern hemisphere and Australia represented a factor that heavily influenced global dairy prices, including the declines in butter and cheese prices.
The FAO Sugar Price Index also dropped slightly averaging almost 201 points in January, down 1.6 percent (3.2 points) from December, and as much as 30.4 percent below the year on year estimate.
International sugar quotations remained under downward pressure mostly due to strong production in the main producing countries and, therefore added export availability.