FAO Food Price Index continues to fall

Price of sugar, vegetable oils, cereals and dairy products decline in June.

July 10, 2023

4 Min Read
FAO Food Price Index continues to fall

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Food Price Index (FFPI) averaged 122.3 points in June 2023, down 1.7 points (1.4%) from May, continuing the downward trend and averaging as much as 37.4 points (23.4%) below the peak it reached in March 2022. The month-on-month decline in the index in June reflected drops in the indices for sugar, vegetable oils, cereals and dairy products, while the meat price index remained virtually unchanged, the organization said.

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The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 126.6 points in June, down 2.7 points (2.1%) from May and as much as 39.7 points (23.9%) below its value a year ago. The month-on-month decline reflects a fall in the world prices of all major cereals. The FAO report that international coarse grain prices fell the most, down 3.4% since May.

“A fifth consecutive monthly decline in international maize prices was mostly driven by increased seasonal supplies from ongoing harvests in Argentina and Brazil,” the organization said. “Amidst concerns over drought conditions, some rain at the end of the month in key maize producing areas of the United States of America also lessened the pressure on maize markets.”

Among other coarse grains, world prices of barley and sorghum also declined, influenced by spillover effects from maize and wheat markets. International wheat prices declined by 1.3% in June, as harvests in Northern Hemisphere countries started. The FAO noted that ample supplies in the Russian Federation, where also the wheat export tax decreased in the month of June, continued to weigh on prices, while improved crop conditions in the U.S. also contributed to the downward pressure on prices.

As mentioned previously, the FAO Meat Price Index averaged 117.9 points in June, virtually unchanged from May, as increases in international quotations for poultry and pig meats were nearly offset by declines in those for bovine and ovine meats. However, compared to its value in June of last year, the index was down 8.1 points (6.4%).

International poultry meat prices increased further, reflecting high import demand from East Asia, especially for supplies from Brazil, amidst the continued supply challenges stemming from widespread avian influenza outbreaks. Meanwhile, pig meat prices increased, underpinned by lingering tight supplies in leading producing regions, especially the European Union. By contrast, international bovine meat prices fell slightly due to increased exportable availabilities, especially in Australia. Similarly, ovine meat prices also fell on high supplies from Oceania.

The FAO Dairy Price Index averaged 116.8 points in June, down 1.0 points (0.8%) from May and 33.4 points (22.2%) below its corresponding value a year ago. According to the FAO, the decline in June was again led by lower international cheese prices, reflecting ample export availabilities, especially in Western Europe, where milk production tracked seasonally higher, while retail sales were somewhat subdued. Meanwhile, whole milk powder prices fell slightly on lower import purchases by North Asian buyers and increased supplies, especially from New Zealand. By contrast, world butter prices rose, driven by active demand for spot supplies, mainly from the Middle East, and increased internal retail sales in Western Europe. Skim milk prices increased slightly on higher import purchases to meet short-term needs amid concerns over supplies in the months ahead during the seasonally declining production phase in Western Europe.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 115.8 points in June, down 2.9 points (2.4%) from May and marking the lowest level since November 2020. The continued decline of the index was driven by lower world prices of palm and sunflower oils, more than offsetting higher soy and rapeseed oil quotations, the FAO said. International palm oil prices dropped for the second consecutive month in June, mainly reflecting prospects of seasonally higher outputs from leading producing countries that coincided with lingering subdued global import demand. Meanwhile, world prices of sunflower oil also continued to fall amid ample global exportable supplies. By contrast, international soyoil prices rebounded from the previous month, largely underpinned by concerns over excessive dryness in pockets of major growing regions in the U.S. Similarly, world rapeseed oil prices recovered moderately on unfavorable weather conditions in parts of Canada and Europe.

The FAO Sugar Price Index averaged 152.2 points in June, down 5.1 points (3.2%) from May, marking the first decline after four consecutive monthly increases. International sugar quotations remained, however, 34.9 points (29.7%) above their levels in the same month last year. The FAO said June decline in international sugar prices was mainly triggered by the good progress of the 2023/24 sugarcane harvest in Brazil and a sluggish global import demand, particularly from China, the world’s second largest importer of sugar. However, concerns over the potential impact of the El Niño phenomenon on the 2023/24 sugarcane crops, along with the strengthening of the Brazilian real against the U.S. dollar, limited the declines in world sugar prices, FAO said.

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