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FAO Food Price Index averages 170 points in April, up 1.5% from March
Wednesday, 15 May, 2019, 12 : 00 PM [IST]
Global food prices rose in April to their highest level in almost a year, led by meat and dairy prices. The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly traded food commodities, averaged 170 points in April, up 1.5 per cent from March, while still 2.3 per cent below its year-ago level.

The increase spanned all the covered food commodities, except cereals, where large export availabilities spurred a fourth consecutive monthly decline.

The FAO Cereal Price Index dipped 2.8 per cent, led by wheat and maize - for which the production outlooks are positive - while rice quotations were broadly stable.

The FAO Dairy Price Index rose 5.2 per cent from March, its fourth consecutive monthly increase, amid robust global import demand combined with supply concerns linked to dry weather in Oceania.

The FAO Meat Price Index increased by three per cent, led by a sharp jump in international price quotations of pig meat due to a surge in import demand in Asia - primarily in China, where the rapid spread of African swine fever has triggered a sharp fall in domestic production. Also bovine, poultry and ovine meat prices all firmed.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Index also rose, by 0.9 per cent. Palm oil quotations rebounded somewhat due to rising global demand and inventory drawdowns in the major exporting countries, while soy oil prices notched up due primarily to the robust domestic demand in the United States from both the biodiesel and food sectors.

The FAO Sugar Price Index rose 0.8 per cent. The increase was largely driven by firmer crude oil prices, as higher energy prices encourage the use of sugarcane in Brazil to produce ethanol for local sale.

Comfortable cereal supply and demand
Early prospects pointed to world cereal output reaching a new record of 2,722 million tonne in 2019, a rebound of 2.7 per cent from the previous year, according to the new Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, also released today.

World cereal utilisation is also expected to reach a new high, rising by 1.5 per cent in the coming year. Global food consumption of cereals is projected to rise by 1.1 per cent, with that of rice increasing even faster, while the demand for coarse grains for animal feed and industrial uses is expected to be even stronger.

Based on those forecasts, world cereal stocks would be drawn down marginally during 2019, to 847 million tonne, resulting in a small drop in the global cereal stock-to-use ratio to 30.1 per cent.

International prices are likely to remain under pressure against a backdrop of overall comfortable supply and demand balances for nearly all the cereals, with trade prospects appearing positive, especially for wheat and rice.
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