World Food Prices Rise 1.1% in January 2022 

February 4, 2022
Food Business Lagos Food Festival

By Adedapo Adesanya

The world food prices went up in January 2022, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The FAO Food Price Index averaged 135.7 points in January, 1.1 per cent higher than in December. The Index tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly-traded food commodities.

The FAO Vegetable Oils Price Index led the rebound in January, increasing by 4.2 per cent month-on-month and reversing its December decline to reach an all-time high.

Quotations for all major oils rose, also supported by rising crude oil prices. Palm oil prices were largely underpinned by concerns over a possible reduction in export availabilities from Indonesia, the world’s leading exporter, while soy oil prices were supported by robust import purchases, particularly from India, rapeseed oil prices were pushed up by lingering supply tightness, and sunflower seed oil quotations were impacted by supply tightness and surging global import demand.

Across other food indexes, the FAO Dairy Price Index increased by 2.4 per cent, its fifth consecutive monthly rise, with the steepest increases registered for skim milk powder and butter.

Reduced export availabilities from Western Europe and below-average expectations for milk production in Oceania in the months ahead contributed to the tightening in global dairy markets, as did processing and transportation delays linked to COVID-19-related labour shortages.

The FAO Cereal Price Index in January increased marginally, by 0.1 per cent, from December. Maize export prices rose by 3.8 per cent during the month, spurred by worries about persistent drought conditions in South America, while world wheat prices declined by 3.1 per cent on the back of large harvests in Australia and Argentina. Lower harvests and steady purchases by Asian buyers led to a 3.1 per cent monthly increase in international rice prices.

The FAO Meat Price Index increased slightly in January, with world bovine meat prices reaching a new peak as global import demand exceeded export supplies, while ovine and poultry meat prices softened as exportable supplies outstripped import demand. Pig meat quotations rose slightly, in part due to rising input costs dampening global supply.

The FAO Sugar Price Index was the only subindex to post a decrease in January, down 3.1 per cent from the previous month due to favourable production prospects in major exporters India and Thailand, as well as improved rains and lower ethanol prices in Brazil.

FAO updated its forecast for world cereal production in 2021, now standing at 2 793 million tonnes, a 0.8 per cent increase from the previous year.

Global wheat output in 2021 is expected to be on par with 2020, while the production of coarse grains is projected to be 1.3 per cent larger and that of rice to grow by 0.7 per cent, according to FAO’s latest Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, also released today.

This year, global wheat plantings are expected to expand, buoyed by mostly conducive weather conditions in the northern hemisphere, although high input costs could deter a larger expansion. The outlook for maize is robust, with high prices pointing to record plantings in Argentina and Brazil.

Worldwide cereal utilization in 2021/22 is forecast to increase by 1.6 per cent year-on-year, pointing to a likely decline in the world cereal stocks-to-use ratio to 28.7 per cent, slightly lower than the previous year’s but still a historically comfortable level.

FAO’s latest forecast for world trade in cereals in 2021/22 stands at 481 million tonnes, up 0.4 per cent from the previous marketing year and a record level. This reflects expectations of a 2.0 per cent increase in global wheat trade and an almost 4.0 per cent increase in the volume of globally traded rice, more than offsetting a 1.5 per cent contraction anticipated for coarse grains.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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