Global food price index drops for sixth month in September – FAO

ROME, Oct 7 (Reuters) – The UN Food Agency’s World Price Index fell for the sixth consecutive month in September, straying from all-time highs recorded earlier this year after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said on Friday that its price index, which tracks the world’s most traded food commodities, averaged 136.3 points in the month last against a revision to 137.9 for August.

The August figure was previously pegged at 138.0.

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The index fell from a record high of 159.7 in March. September’s reading, however, was 5.5% higher than a year earlier.

The latest decline was led by a 6.6% month-on-month drop in vegetable oil prices, as higher supply and lower crude oil prices contributed to the decline.

Sugar, dairy and meat prices all fell by less than a percentage point, easing inflationary pressures.

By contrast, the FAO Cereals Price Index rose 1.5% month-on-month in September, with wheat prices rising 2.2% on concerns about crop drought in Argentina and in the United States, strong EU exports and increased uncertainty about access to the Ukrainian Black Sea. ports beyond November.

Rice prices rose 2.2%, partly on concerns about the impact of recent severe flooding in Pakistan.

In separate cereal supply and demand estimates, the FAO lowered its forecast for world cereal production in 2022 to 2.768 billion tonnes, from 2.774 billion tonnes previously.

This is 1.7% less than the estimated production for 2021.

“The lower forecast for global coarse grains production accounts for the bulk of the overall decline this month as unfavorable weather conditions continued to dampen yield prospects in major producing countries,” the FAO said.

Global cereal utilization in 2022/23 is expected to exceed production at 2.784 million tonnes, leading to a forecast decline of 1.6% in global stocks from 2021/22 to 848 million tonnes.

That would represent a stocks-to-use ratio of 29.7%, down from 31.0% in 2021/22, but still relatively high historically, the FAO said.

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Editing by Crispian Balmer

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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