ROME, ITALY — Global food commodity prices rose to a nearly six-year high in November, according to a United Nations report.
The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks international prices of the most traded food commodities, averaged 105 points during the month, up 3.9% from October and 6.5% higher compared with a year earlier. The monthly increase was the sharpest since July 2012, putting the index at its highest level since December 2014, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.
All of the commodity prices the FAO Food Price Index tracks rose in the month of November.
The FAO Cereal Price Index jumped 2.5% in November compared with October as reduced wheat harvests in Argentina led to higher export prices as well as maize prices due to decreased output in the United States, Ukraine and large purchases in China.
The FAO has reduced its global cereal production forecast to 2.742 billion tonnes in 2020. The trimmed outlook is still a record high forecast and about 1.3% above the previous year’s outturn.
According to the FAO’s Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, forecasts world coarse grains production to total 1.470 billion tonnes, wheat production of 761.7 million tonnes and rice production of 508.4 million tonnes.
World cereal utilization for 2020-21 is forecast at 2.744 billion tonnes, a 1.9% increase compared with the previous year. The FAO attributed the jump to the increased use of maize and sorghum in feed in China and a rise in production of maize-based ethanol in the United States and Brazil.
By the close of seasons in 2021 the FAO expects worldwide cereal stocks to drop to a five-year low of 866.4 million tonnes.
The FAO expects world 2020-21 cereals trade to increase due to a rise in maize sales by the United States and continued demand from China, projecting a 3.4% increase, or 454.6 million tonnes.
The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index gained a stunning 14.5% in November, as palm oil prices were boosted by decreased world inventory levels.
Based on an expected drop in production and weak crop prospects the FAO Sugar Price Index increased 3.3% month-on-month.
The FAO Dairy Price Index increased 0.9% to near an 18-month high, driven by firmer butter and cheese prices and surging retail sales in Europe.
The FAO Meat Price Index rose 0.9% from October, but it is still 13.7% below its value a year ago.