FAO: Food price index drops in December

by World Grain Staff
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ROME, ITALY - Prices of major food commodities declined for the fourth year in a row in 2015, averaging 19.1% below their previous-year's levels, as the dwindling global economy also triggered sharp price falls from metals to energy markets, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported on Jan. 7.

FAO's Food Price Index averaged 164.1 points over 2015 and ended the year even lower, at 154.1 points during the month of December.

In December, the index declined a further 1% from its revised November value, as falling prices for meat, dairy and cereals more than offset gains by sugar and vegetable oils.

"Abundant supplies in the face of a timid world demand and an appreciating dollar are the main reason for the general weakness that dominated food prices in 2015," said Abdolreza Abbassian, FAO senior economist.

The FAO Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index tracking international market prices for five key food commodity groups: major cereals, vegetable oils, dairy, meat and sugar.

FAO's Cereal Price Index declined 1.3% in December from its November value, due to intensifying export competition among maize producers and expectations of more wheat supplies entering world markets after Argentina removed export taxes. The sub-index, which includes rice, shed 15.4% on average during 2015 from the previous year.

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