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Global Food Commodity Prices Jump in September

Increases in dairy, meat indexes hike global food prices in April

Global commodity prices for key food ingredients rose to their highest level in almost a year, led by increases in meat and dairy prices, according to the latest data from the UN’s Food Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The Food Price Index averaged 170 points in April 2019, up 1.5 percent from March but still down 2.3 percent below its April 2018 level.

The Cereal Price Index averaged 160 points in April, down 2.8 percent from March and 5 percent below its April 2018 value. Cereal prices fell for the fourth consecutive month, pressured by large export availabilities and slowing trade. Wheat and maize prices fell the most in April, while rice prices remained stable in April.

The Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 128.7 points in April, up 0.9 percent from the previous month. Palm oil quotations rebounded somewhat due to rising global demand and inventory drawdowns in the major exporting countries, while soy oil prices notched up due primarily to robust domestic demand in the United States from both the biodiesel and food sectors.

The Dairy Price Index averaged 215 points in April, up 5.2 percent from March, representing the fourth consecutive month of increase. Price quotations for butter, Whole Milk Powder (WMP) and cheese rose, as global import demand continued to be robust in anticipation of a further tightening in export availabilities from Oceania with dry weather conditions reinforcing the seasonal milk production drop. By contrast, Skim Milk Powder (SMP) prices slipped for a second consecutive month from the February high, underpinned by continued slowdown in demand.

The Sugar Price Index averaged 181.7 points in April 2019, up 0.8 percent from March and 3.2 percent above its April 2018 value. The increase was largely driven by firmer crude oil prices, as higher energy prices encourage the use of sugarcane in Brazil to produce ethanol for local sale.

The Meat Price Index averaged just over 169 points in April, 3 percent from March, led by a sharp jump in international price quotations of pig meat due to a surge in import demand in Asia - primarily in China, where the rapid spread of African Swine Fever has triggered a sharp fall in domestic production. Bovine, poultry and ovine meat prices all remained firm.

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