A gauge of global food commodity prices fell again in June, led by declines in the cost of grains and vegetable oils, and is now more than 23% off the March 2022 peak that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index averaged 122.3 points in June, 1.4% below the average for May. The index has declined steadily over the past year except for a small increase in April. 

Prices for sugar and dairy products also were down in June, while the meat price index remained relatively flat due to a drop in beef prices that offset increases for pork and poultry products.   

FAO’s index for food grains fell 2.1% partly on prospects for stronger corn supplies due to the U.S. crop, combined with the ongoing harvests in Argentina and Brazil. Wheat prices dropped 1.3%, due in part to a lower export tax in Russia and improved prospects for the U.S. harvest. 

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index fell 2.4% because of price declines for palm and sunflower oils that offset higher prices for soybean and rapeseed oil. The dairy index was off 0.8% amid softer prices for cheese, while sugar prices were down 3.2%. 

Although the meat index was virtually unchanged in June, it is down 6.4% below June 2022. Poultry prices were up last month because of high import demand in East Asia, and pork prices were higher due in part to tight supplies in the European Union. 

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A separate FAO report says high domestic food prices continue to drive “worrying levels of hunger" in most of 45 countries that were assessed for their need for external food assistance. Thirty-three of those 45 countries are in Africa, while nine are in Asia. Haiti, Ukraine and Venezuela are the others.

"Although drought conditions eased in East Africa, production prospects remain unfavorable in 2023, while conflicts in several parts of the African continent are aggravating food security concerns," the report says. "At the global level, El Niño poses a risk to agricultural production and food security in several regions, particularly Southern Africa and Central America."                                       
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