Global food prices rose for the fifth consecutive month in May, pushed up by rising prices of cheese and maize due to adverse weather conditions. The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly traded food commodities, averaged 172.4 points in May, up 1.2 per cent from the previous month while still 1.9 per cent below its level in May 2018.
The FAO Dairy Price Index rose 5.2 percent from April, nearing a five-year high. The upswing, centered on cheese prices, reflected robust global import demand amid tight export availabilities from drought-ridden Oceania.
The FAO Cereal Price Index rose 1.4 percent, entirely driven by a sudden surge in maize price quotations in response to diminishing production prospects in the United States of America, where planting of the crop is off to the slowest pace ever recorded due to widespread flooding and rain. Wheat prices generally dipped, while those of rice held broadly steady.
The FAO Sugar Price Index declined 3.2 percent for the month, as prospects of increased output in India, the world's largest producer, outweighed a reported 17 percent annual drop in production in Brazil. Weaker international energy prices, which reduce demand for sugarcane to produce biofuels, also negatively affected sugar prices.
The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index declined 1.1 percent as palm oil values declined on account of large inventory levels in leading exporting countries. Prices of soy, sunflower and rapeseed oils increased modestly.
The FAO Meat Price Index was up marginally in May as pig meat price quotations continued to rise amid strong import demand from East Asia, where the African Swine Fever has decimated production. Bovine meat prices eased from their April highs, reflecting elevated global export supplies.