Dairy, meat, oilseeds drag world food prices a tad in October: FAO Outlook
World food prices dipped marginally in October from the previous month, even though there was a surge in sugar and a moderate increase in cereals, according to a global outlook released by the UN food agency FAO on Thursday.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation’s food price index — which tracks monthly changes in prices of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar — averaged 163.5 points last month, down 1.4 points (0.9 per cent) from September and some 13 points (7.4 per cent) lower than the corresponding value during the same period last year.
The decline in the global food price index was due to falling dairy, meat and oilseeds prices, which more than offset the increase in the sugar price and a modest jump in cereal prices.
The sugar price index averaged 175.4 points in October, up 14 points (8.7 per cent) from September. The rapid increase in sugar price quotations was due to a dip in production projections in India and Indonesia on account of weather vagaries.
Higher diversion of sugarcane output for ethanol pro- duction in Brazil too contributed its bit.
The FAO cereal price index rebounded 2.2 points (1.3 per cent) to 166.3 in October from the previous month on account of firming up of maize and wheat prices, the latter because of deteriorating crop prospects in Australia. Rice prices, on the other hand, fell because of new arrivals in the market, the FAO said.
The vegetable oil price index was down 2 points (1.5 per cent) in October, the lowest level since April 2009. The index has been falling for nine months in a row. The slide was mainly due to sluggish global import demand for palm oil. International soybean oil and mustard oil prices, on the other hand, rebounded slightly while sunflower oil prices remained unchanged.
The global diary price index has been continuing its slide since May, but October witnessed one of the worst dips in recent months. It slumped 9.2 points (4.8 per cent) in October to 181.8 from 191 in September.
October also saw a softening of global meat prices, which dropped 3.3 points (2 per cent) with the index averaging 161.6 points.