FAO's Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index that measures prices of five major food commodities on international markets: in addition to sub-indices for prices of cereals, it also tracks meat, dairy products, vegetable oils, and sugar.
The vegetable oils sub-index clocked in at 166.6 points in August, 14.5 points (8%) less than the previous month and the lowest level since November 2009.
FAO's index of sugar prices averaged 244.3 points in last month, down by 14.8 points (5.7%) from July, but still 2.2 points (1%) higher than one year ago.
And its meat sub-index averaged 207.3 points in August, 2.5 points (1.2%) more than in July but 25 points (14%) above last year.
Meanwhile FAO's monthly Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, also released on Friday, has upped the Organization's forecast for 2014 world cereal production by 14 million tons. At 2.5 billion tons (including rice in milled terms), the new projection would be 0.5% (13 million tons) short of last year's record.
More optimistic wheat forecasts were mostly behind the revision in cereal production compared to last month. Wheat production is now expected to reach 716.5 million tons — also just shy of last year's record harvest.
Wheat crops in China, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the United States are now projected to be larger than previously anticipated.
And production in Argentina, Brazil, China, the EU, India, and the Russian Federation has increased significantly, offsetting reductions in Australia, the United States and, especially, Canada — where the latest official forecast points to a decline of almost 10 million tons (26%).
For rice, however, the production outlook worsened compared to July by about 3 million tons, as an erratic rainfall pattern and concerns over El Niño's impacts on crops early next year marred prospects in China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
Still, at 500.4 million tons, global rice production (in milled rice equivalent ) is forecast to surpass the 2013 harvest by 0.45%.
All told, the size of global inventories of all cereals is anticipated to rise to their highest levels in 15 years as a result of two years of good harvests.
FAO now sees world cereal stocks reaching 616 million tons by the close of the seasons in 2015 — 12 million tons higher than the previous forecast, and over 6% (37 million tons) over stock levels at the start of the 2014-2015 season.