FAO food price index stable

by World Grain Staff
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ROME, ITALY — The United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization's (FAO) monthly food price index was stable in November, as vegetable oil and grain prices inched up and offset ongoing declines in dairy prices, the FAO said on Dec. 4.

The Food Price Index averaged 192.6 points, marking the third consecutive month of stability. The Index now stands 13 points, 6.4% below its level in November 2013.

"The index appears to have bottomed out with higher probabilities for a rise in its value in coming months" said Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist at FAO.

After some volatile movements in recent years, FAO's Food Price Index, a trade-weighted index that tracks prices of five major food commodities on international markets, is now around its level of August 2010. The Index aggregates sub-indices for prices of cereals, meat, dairy products, vegetable oils and sugar.

The FAO Dairy Price Index declined 3.4% from October and 29% from a year earlier to average 178.1 points in November, reflecting increased export availability of dairy products along with slower imports to large markets such as China and the Russian Federation.

Cereal prices rose significantly for the first time since March as growing conditions for the just-sown wheat crop in the Northern hemisphere appear less than ideal. However, rice prices weakened as newly-harvested supplies arrived to market. The Cereal Price Index averaged 183 points in November, up 2.6% from October, but down 5.8% from a year earlier.

The Vegetable Oil Price Index also rose, increasing 0.7% to 164.9 points - still almost 17% below its level a year earlier - due to lower-than-anticipated global production of sunflower oil and some slowdown of palm oil production in Malaysia and Indonesia. However, soy oil prices were weak, dampening the sub-index's rise.

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