ROME, ITALY — For the first time in 12 months, the benchmark index of international food commodity prices rose in April, up 0.8% from the previous month, while the index for international cereal prices fell 1.7% compared to March, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations reported.

The FAO Food Price Index (FPI) averaged 127.2 points in April, a slight monthly increase but still nearly 20% below its value in the corresponding month last year. The slight rebound in April was led by increases in the sugar and meat price index, according to the FAO.

In its Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, the FAO said the Cereal Price Index averaged 136.1 points in April, down nearly 20% from April 2022.

“A decline in world prices of all major grains outweighed an increase in rice prices month-on-month,” the FAO said.

The report noted that international wheat prices declined by 2.3% in April to their lowest level since July 2021, principally driven by large exportable availabilities in Russia and Australia.

The FAO added that “favorable crop conditions in Europe, along with an agreement at the end of April allowing Ukrainian grains to transit through the European Union countries that had imposed import restrictions on grain from Ukraine earlier in the month, also contributed to the overall softer tone in markets.”

World corn prices fell by 3.2% in April, mostly driven by higher seasonal supplies in South America as harvesting continued and favorable prospects point to a record output in Brazil. Among other coarse grains, world prices of barley and sorghum also declined, by 4.3% and 0.3%, respectively, reflecting weak global demand and spillover from weakness in international maize and wheat markets, the FAO said.

By contrast, sales to Asian buyers buoyed international rice prices during April. As a result, rice export quotations reversed most of the declines they registered in March 2023, the report said.