Global Food prices have continued to surge in past weeks pushing it to the highest level in over a decade after rising by more than 30% in the last year, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reported.
As per the Food Price Index published on November 4, international prices of all major cereals increased month-on-month with wheat rising by 5% in October. Overall, the year-on-year price rose by exactly 38.3% after major exporters such as Canada, Russia and the US had poor harvests. The FAO index figures also revealed that apart from the cost of cereals, vegetable oils have also seen a record spike across the globe.
Reduced global supplies of higher quality wheat, in particular, exacerbated the pressure, with premium grades leading the price rise, FAO mentioned. Among coarse grains, international barley prices increased the most in October, underpinned by strong demand, reduced production prospects, and price increases in other markets, it added. The global price of maize has also firmed owing to an unprecedented spike in energy and fuel costs in the past months.
As per the FAO vegetable oil price index, the international palm oil prices increased for a fourth consecutive month in October, largely underpinned by persisting concerns over subdued output in Malaysia due to ongoing migrant labour shortages. Rapeseed oil also continued to stay firm stemming from protracted global supply-demand tightness. Rising crude oil prices also added to the prices of vegetable oil. In the meantime, world prices of palm, soy and sunflower oils received support from reviving global import demand, particularly from India that lowered import tariffs further on edible oils, FAO said.
On the other hand, prices of dairy products like butter, skim milk powder and whole milk products also rose steeply for the second consecutive month. The skyrocketing prices have stemmed from the massive global supply chain disparities observed during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, meat prices have recorded a record decline for three consecutive months.
"In October, international quotations for pig meat fell, principally underpinned by reduced purchases from China," FAO said in its report. Additionally, bovine meat prices also fell, reflecting a sharp decline in quotations for supplies from Brazil amid market uncertainty surrounding import suspensions by its leading trading partners over mad-cow disease concerns, FAO added.