World food prices drops for 12th month running in March – FAO

World food prices drops for 12th month running in March – FAO

The world price index of the UN agency for food dropped in March for the 12th month in a row, and is now down to 20.5% from a record high reached one year ago as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to data released on Friday by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the price index for the most widely traded food commodities last month averaged 126.9 points, down from 129.7 in February. This was the lowest reading since July 2021.

“While prices dropped at the global level, they are still very high and continue to increase in domestic markets, posing additional challenges to food security,” Maximo Torero, FAO’s chief economist said in a statement.

“This is particularly so in net food importing developing countries, with the situation aggravated by the depreciation of their currencies against the U.S. dollar or the euro and a mounting debt burden,” he added. The FAO cereal price index fell 5.6% month-on-month in March, with wheat registering a 7.1% drop, maize a 4.6% decline and rice easing 3.2 percent.

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The FAO increased its forecast for world wheat production in 2023, now estimated at 786 million tonnes — 1.3% below the level of 2022 but still the second-largest outturn on record. This prediction was made in a separate report on cereals supply and demand.

Vegetable oils fell 3.0%, some 47.7% down on the level the index hit in March 2022, while the dairy index was down 0.8%.

Sugar, however, rose 1.5% to its highest level since October 2016, riddled by concerns over declining production prospects in India, Thailand and China. The meat price index equally rose by 0.8%.

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