FAO Food price index rose 1% in February but is 10% below a year ago
The FAO Food Price Index rose 1% or 2.4 points from January to February. The Index climbed nearly 2% in January – its first increase in six months. The February increase was mostly driven by higher prices of sugar, oils and cereals while dairy prices fell slightly after a marked rise in January.
At its current level, the Index was 10% below its peak in February 2011.
Increased imports due to a weaker US Dollar and plunging freight rates have also characterized world markets since the beginning of 2012. This, combined with unfavourable weather conditions in major exporting countries has supported world prices in recent weeks, FAO said in a brief accompanying the Food Price Index.
The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 227 points in February, up 2%, or 4.4 points, from January. International wheat prices rose most followed by maize, while rice quotations were generally lower.
The FAO Oils/Fats Price Index registered another gain in February to 239 points, 2% or 5 points, higher than in January. Poor monthly production growth in palm oil together with the prospect of a tight supply and demand balance for total vegetable oils was among the reasons.
The FAO Meat Price Index averaged 175 points in February, virtually unchanged from the previous month’s level. Prices of pig meat gained 3.4%, sustained by strong purchases in Asia and recent disease outbreaks in the Russia Federation. By contrast, prices of poultry, bovine and sheep meat lost some ground.
The FAO Dairy Price Index averaged 205 points in February, down marginally from January. The decline was mainly caused by falling skim milk powder and casein quotations. However, prices of butter, cheese and whole milk powder remained relatively steady.
The FAO Sugar Price Index rose to 342 points in February, up 2.4%, or 8 points, from January, but still 18% (76 points) lower than in February last year. Last month’s increase was largely driven by unfavourable weather conditions in Brazil, the world's largest producer and exporter of sugar.