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Food commodity prices

Global food commodity prices hold steady in September

Global food prices were steady in September, as lower sugar prices were offset by increased quotations for vegetable oils and meat, according to the latest data from the UN’s Food Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The FAO Food Price Index averaged 170 points in September 2019, virtually unchanged from August, and 3.3% higher than September 2018.

The Cereal Price Index averaged 157.6 points in September, nearly identical to its August average and down 3.9% from September 2018. Wheat prices were firmer in September amid brisk trade activity, though they remained 11% below the same time last year. Maize prices were down month-on-month, while rice prices fell modestly amid slow import demand and uncertainties surrounding policies in the Philippines and Nigeria.

The Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 135.7 points in September, up 1.4% from August, marking the highest level in 13 months. The increase was driven by steady demand from India and China for palm oil imports and higher price quotations for rapeseed oil, linked to firm demand from the European Union's biodiesel sector. Soy and sunflower oil prices both dropped.

The Dairy Price Index declined 0.6%, as higher quotations for milk powders were more than offset by falling cheese and butter prices, especially at the lower end of the price range.

The Sugar Price Index averaged 168 points in September, down 3.9% from August. The decline was largely driven by expectations of ample stocks and supply trends as well as reduced demand in Brazil for sugarcane to use in the production of ethanol.

The Meat Price Index averaged 181.5 points in September, up 0.8% from August, driven by solid import demand from China. While pig meat prices in China, the world's largest market, remained at the high levels recorded in August, increased export supplies in Europe prodded pig meat prices in international mark. Poultry meat prices remained stable, as export availabilities were adequate to meet import demand.

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