Global Food Prices Jump 11th Consecutive Month in April
By Adedapo Adesanya
The prices of food commodity globally rose for the 11th consecutive month in April 2021, led by sugar, oil, and meat, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has said.
The FAO said this in its Food Price Index report released on Thursday. The index tracks international prices of most commonly traded food commodities.
The FAO Food Price Index averaged 120.9 points in April, 1.7 per cent higher than March 2021 and 30.8 per cent higher than the same period of last year.
“The increase marked the 11th conservative monthly rise in the value of the FAO Food Price Index to its highest level since May 2014.
“And in nominal terms is 12 per cent below its all-time peak in February 2011,” it said.
The FAO Sugar Price Index increased 39 per cent from March and reached levels nearly 60 per cent above those registered in the corresponding month last year.
“The April rebound in international sugar price quotations was prompted by strong buying amid heightened concerns over tighter global supplies in 2020/21, due to the slow harvest progress in Brazil and frost damage in France.
“Further support was provided by the strengthening of the Brazilian Real against the US Dollar, which tends to affect shipments from Brazil, the world’s largest sugar exporter.
According to the report, the FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 162.0 points in April, up 1.8 per cent month-on-month, driven by rising soy, rapeseed and palm oil quotations more than offsetting lower sunflower oil values.
“International palm oil prices continued to rise in April on concerns over slower-than-expected production growth in major exporting countries.
“Soy and rapeseed oil values climbed further too, underpinned by respectively, firm global demand, including from biodiesel producers and protracted global supply tightness.
“By contrast, international prices of sunflower oil contracted moderately on-demand rationing,” it said.
In the report, the FAO Meat Price Index averaged 101.8 points in April, up 1.7 per cent from the slightly revised value for March, marking a seventh consecutive monthly increase and raising the index by 5.1 per cent above the corresponding month last year.
“In April, bovine and ovine meat quotations rose, underpinned by solid demand from East Asia, amidst tight supplies from Oceania due to ongoing herd rebuilding and low inventories.
“Elevated internal sales in some producing regions also supported bovine and ovine meat prices.
“Pig meat quotations firmed on continued high purchases by East Asia, despite increased overall shipments from the European Union, while Germany continued with no access to the Chinese market over African swine fever concerns.
“Meanwhile, poultry meat prices remained steady, reflecting generally balanced global markets,” the report said.
The report said the FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 125.1 points in April, up 1.2 per cent from March, resuming its climb after a short-lived one-month respite in March, and stood 26 per cent above its April 2020 level.
“Maize prices rose 5.7 per cent in April.
“With overall tightening maize supplies, on top of continued strong demand, maize prices stood 66.7 per cent above their values one year earlier and remain at their highest level since mid-2013.
“Among other coarse grains, international barley and sorghum prices continued to soften, falling 1.2 and 1.0 per cent in April but remained 26.8 and 86.5 per cent above their respective values in the corresponding month last year,” it said.
International wheat prices were generally steady in April, remaining over 17 per cent above their April 2020 values.
“By contrast, international rice prices decreased again in April, mainly reflecting currency movements and slow trading activities, with persistent logistical constraints and freight costs continuing to hinder fresh deals,” it said.
The report said the FAO Dairy Price Index averaged 118.9 points in April, up 1.2 per cent from March, rising for the eleventh consecutive month and lifting the index 24.1 per cent above its value a year ago.
“In April, butter quotations rose, underpinned by solid import demand from Asia, notwithstanding weaker internal demand in Europe.
“Skim milk powder prices increased due to high import demand from East Asia, induced partly by concerns over potential shipping delays amid limited spot supplies from Europe and Oceania.
“Cheese prices also increased due to high demand from Asia, amid lower-than-expected production in Europe and seasonally declining supplies from Oceania.
“By contrast, quotations for whole milk powder declined slightly, reflecting lower import demand for the available supplies, following significantly high volumes traded recently,” it said.