Global food prices have reached their highest level since January 2015, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Thursday (3rd August). The FAO Food Price Index, which measures monthly changes in international prices of a basket of food commodities, averaged 179.1 points in July, up 2.3 percent from June. Global food prices rose for the third consecutive month in July, driven mainly by higher cereal, sugar and dairy quotations. This latest rise put the Index almost 16.6 points or 10 percent above last year’s level, FAO said in a press release. The FAO Cereal Price Index reached 162.2 points in July, an increase of almost 5.1% from June and 9.5 percent from July 2016. According to the UN agency, this was caused by stronger wheat prices and, to a lesser extent, also by firmer rice quotations. Wheat values rose the most in July, as continued hot and dry weather deteriorated spring wheat conditions in North America.
The FAO Dairy Price Index also rose 3.6 percent from June because of higher prices for butter, cheese and whole milk powder. Although the FAO Sugar Price Index rose by 5.2 per cent in July, it was the first monthly increase since the beginning of the year. The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index fell 1.1 percent from June to its lowest level since August 2016. “The July slide primarily reflected good production prospects for palm oil in Southeast Asia and weak global import demand,” FAO explained. The FAO Meat Price Index remained steady. An increase in international prices for ovine meat in July was offset by downward price movements in bovine, pig and poultry sectors.