An index of global food commodity prices dropped for the 10th straight month in January on declines in the cost of vegetable oils, dairy products and sugar.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index averaged 131.2 points last month, down 0.8% from December. The index is now 17.9% below its peak in March 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The index for cereal grains was up slightly, 0.1%, in January because of rising prices for corn and rice that offset declines in the cost of wheat and barley. Corn prices rose 0.5% because of strong demand for Brazilian corn and concern over Argentina’s dry conditions, FAO said.
Wheat prices fell for a third straight month by 2.5% on larger than expected production in Australia and Russia.
The index for vegetable oil fell 2.9% last month due to price declines for palm, soy, sunflower and rapeseed (canola) oil. Vegetable oil prices are now 25% lower than they were a year ago.
Falling prices for butter and milk powders drove the dairy price index down 1.4% in January to its lowest level in a year. Cheese prices did rise slightly last month, because of currency movements and an improvement in food service and retail sales in Western Europe, FAO said.
Sugar prices were down 1.1% in January.
FAO’s meat price index slipped 0.1%, reflecting small declines in poultry, beef and pork prices. Poultry supplies continue to exceed import demand despite widespread outbreaks of avian influenza, FAO said.
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