The Strategist

FAO: Global food prices hit 2014 record

02/05/2021 - 02:45

Global food prices rose 4.3 per cent in January from December 2020 levels, reaching the highest level since July 2014, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said.

Jorge Royan
Jorge Royan
The organisation said the prices have been rising for the eighth consecutive month. The growth is primarily due to strong increases in price indices for sugar, cereals and vegetable oils, the FAO explained. Prices of meat and dairy products also rose over the month, but less steeply, by 1 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively. 

The organisation noted that global cereal stocks are expected to shrink sharply. 

World maize prices rose 42.3% over the year. The organisation attributed the price hike to a supply shortfall: US production and stocks were lower than previously anticipated. In addition, large volumes of purchases were recorded from China. The rise in maize prices, which reached the highest since mid-2013, was also influenced by fears of drought in South America and the temporary suspension of maize export licences in Argentina.

Barley prices rose 6.9 per cent in January on higher demand and higher prices for maize, wheat and soybeans. Wheat prices rose 6.8 percent in January, influenced by higher maize prices as well as higher international demand and expected sales cuts by Russia, which will double export duties on wheat from March. 

The average sugar price index rose 8.1% in January compared with December. This is its highest level since May 2017. The FAO vegetable oil price index rose 5.8% in January for the month to its highest level since May 2012. The index rose for the eighth consecutive month due to higher prices for palm oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil.