ROME, ITALY – Global food prices rose for the third consecutive month in July, driven mainly by higher cereal, sugar and dairy quotations.

TheFAO Food Price Index— a monthly trade-weighted index tracking international market prices of five major food commodity groups — averaged 179.1 points in July, its highest value since January 2015, marking a 2.3% increase from June 2017 and 10.2% rise from its level a year earlier.

The FAO Cereal Price Index was up 5.1% in July. The Index has been rising consistently over the past three months, supported by firmer wheat and rice quotations. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), wheat values rose the most in July, as continued hot and dry weather conditions hampered spring wheat crops in North America, while seasonal tightness pushed up rice prices. On the other hand, maize prices remained largely steady.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index fell 1.1% from June to its lowest level since August 2016. The July slide primarily reflected good production prospects for palm oil in Southeast Asia and weak global import demand.

The FAO Dairy Price Index gained 3.6% in July, underpinned by stronger prices of butter, cheese and whole milk powder (WMP). Tighter export availabilities pushed butter prices to a new high in July, widening further the spread between butter quotations and other dairy products.

The FAO Sugar Price Index rose by 5.2% in July, marking the first monthly increase since the beginning of the year. The strong appreciation of the Brazilian real was the main driver behind the rebound in sugar values. Despite the latest increase, sugar prices remain well below (26%) the corresponding period last year.