For the second consecutive month in July, world food prices recorded a decrease, reflecting a fall in prices of cereals, vegetable oils and dairy products. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the United Nations food agency, revealed in its July price index, where it noted that the prices of food around the globe are still up, nearly by a third over the past year.
According to the FAO, the food price index, which keeps track of international prices of the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 123.0 points last month compared with 124.6 in June and rose 31 percent in July on a year-on-year basis. It also noted that during the month of June, the index declined for the first time in a year, marking a pause in a broad rally in agricultural commodities fuelled by the demand from China and setbacks from harvest.
The report further revealed that the cereal price index fell 3 percent in July from the previous month, weighed down by a 6 percent drop in maize (corn) prices. Also, maize prices were pressured by improved Argentine and U.S. production prospects and canceled import orders by China, which outweighed harvest concerns in Brazil.
“International rice prices were also weaker in July, hitting a two-year low as new-crop supplies and currency movements added to a slow pace of sales. However, wheat prices rose 1.8 percent to their highest since mid-2014, boosted by worries over dry conditions in North America, heavy rain in Europe, and lower-than-expected initial yields in Russia. Vegetable oil prices declined 1.4 percent versus June to a five-month low, as a rebound in palm oil quotations was offset by lower levels for other oils. The dairy price index dropped 2.8 percent,” the agency said.
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From the sugar index, the commodity price surged by 1.7 percent for a fourth straight month with support from stronger crude oil prices and uncertainty over the impact of yield frosts in Brazil, a top exporter. Also, the FAO said the meat index rose slightly overall. Poultry prices increased most sharply due to strong imports in East Asia while pork prices eased amid a decline in Chinese imports.