The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has stated that the benchmark index of international food commodity prices declined in February for the eleventh consecutive month.
According to a report obtained from FAO’s website, showed that Food Price Index (FPI) averaged 129.8 points in February, a marginal 0.6 per cent decrease from January, but 18.7 per cent down from its peak in March 2022.
It said that the decline in the index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly-traded food commodities, reflected drops in quotations for vegetable oils and dairy products that more than offset a steep rise in sugar prices.
The report also added that FAO Cereal Price Index remained virtually unchanged from January. International wheat prices rose marginally during the month, as concerns over dry conditions in the United States of America and robust demand for supplies from Australia were largely countered by a strong competition among exporters while international rice prices eased by 1.0 per cent due to a slowdown in trading activities in most major Asian exporters, whose currencies also depreciated against the United States dollar.
Meanwhile, the FAO has warned that some people in six countries are experiencing, or expected to experience very soon, severe levels of acute food insecurity, defined as level 5 of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC 5) or catastrophic hunger.
These countries include Burkina Faso, Haiti, Mali, Somalia and South Sudan as millions more face severe hunger.
The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index declined 3.2 per cent from January, with the world prices of palm, soy, sun flower seed and rapeseed oils all lower.
The FAO Dairy Price Index declined 2.7 per cent during the month, with butter and skim milk powder international quotations registering the steepest decline.
The FAO Meat Price Index also remained almost unchanged from January. World poultry prices continued to decline amid abundant export supplies, notwithstanding the avian influence outbreaks in several leading producer countries, while international pig meat prices rose, mostly due to concerns over tighter export availabilities in Europe.
In contrast, the FAO Sugar Price Index rose 6.9 per cent from January to its highest level in six years, due largely to a downward revision to the 2022/23 production forecast in India, although favorable crop prospects in other suppliers, combined with lower international crude oil prices and ethanol prices in Brazil, limited upward pressure on sugar prices.
In its latest Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, the FAO released its preliminary forecast for world wheat production in 2023, predicting a global outturn of 784 million tonnes, which would be the second highest on record though down from the previous year. Strong outputs are expected in North America, as farmers increase acreage in response to high grain prices.
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