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01_23 wheat prices

Food commodity prices hold steady in March, cereal outlook upbeat

Global commodity prices for key food ingredients remained stable in March, according to the latest data from the UN’s Food Agriculture Organization (FAO). An increase in dairy prices was offset by declines in cereal, vegetable oil and sugar price quotations.

The Food Price Index averaged 167 points in March 2019, but down 3.6 percent from the same time last year.

The Cereal Price Index averaged 164.8 points in March, down 2.2 percent from February, led by declining prices of wheat and maize, both of which have ample exportable supplies and favorable harvest prospects in key producing countries. International rice prices were mildly firmer in March.

The Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 127.6 points in March, down 4.4 percent from February, mostly reflecting weakening values of palm, soy and rapeseed oils, increased soy oil crushing in the United States and accumulating rapeseed inventories in Canada.

The Dairy Price Index averaged 204.3 points in March, up 6.2 percent from February, marking a third consecutive increase. International prices of butter, whole milk powder (WMP) and cheese rose on increased import demand, while skim milk powder (SMP) prices fell slightly from the high values registered in February.

The Sugar Price Index averaged 180.4 points in March 2019, down 2.1 percent from February, as harvests in key producing countries were larger than previously anticipated. India is now expected to become the world’s largest sugar producer, overtaking Brazil, with the latest production estimates pointing to an 8 percent increase during October 2018-January 2019, in comparison to the same period in the previous season.

The Meat Price Index averaged 162.5 points in March, up 0.4 percent from the previous month, buoyed by growing import demand from China for pig, bovine and poultry meats.

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