Food prices rose for the third consecutive month in August, influenced by generally firmer demand and a weaker U.S. dollar, according to a report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks the international prices of the most commonly traded food commodities, averaged 96.1 points in August, up 2.0 percent from the previous month and reaching its highest level since February 2020.
The FAO Cereal Price Index rose by 1.9 percent from July, averaging 7.0 percent above its value in August 2019, with coarse grains leading the rise. Sorghum prices rose 8.6 percent - and stood at 33.4 percent above their year ago level, mostly on the back of strong import demand by China. Maize prices rose 2.2 percent amid concerns that recent crop damages in Iowa would impact supply. International rice prices also rose, underpinned by seasonally tight availabilities and increasing African demand.
The FAO Sugar Price Index rose by 6.7 percent from the previous month, reflecting reduced production prospects due to unfavorable weather conditions in the European Union and Thailand, the world's second-largest sugar exporter, as well as strong import demand by China.
The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index increased by 5.9 percent, led by firmer values for palm oil especially, but also soy, sunflower and rapeseed oils. The moves mainly reflect prospective production slowdowns in leading palm oil producing countries amid firm global import demand.
The FAO Dairy Price Index was virtually unchanged from July, with cheese and whole milk powder quotations declining amid expectations of ample seasonal export availabilities in Oceania, while butter prices rose due to tightening export availabilities in Europe in the wake of the August heat wave reducing milk output.
The FAO Meat Price Index was also almost unchanged since July although down 8.9 percent from August 2019 as the effect of lower import demand for bovine, poultry and ovine meats was offset by surging import demand for pigmeat from China. ■