Dairy and meat prices drive world food prices down

The Food and Agricultural Organisation’s (FAO) Food Price Index was down 1.6% in November on October, with dairy and meat prices helping drive prices down.

The dairy price index averaged 151.1 points in November, down 4.6 points (2.9%) from October.

After rising in September and October, the FAO states that limited buying interest resulted in prices falling last month, a sign that major importers have accumulated adequate stocks for their immediate needs.

Quotations for butter and milk powders dropped, while those for cheese were steady, it said.

Milk production in Oceania for the current dairy year is anticipated to be lower, while output in the European Union is similar to last year, according to the FAO.

The meat price index averaged 158.6 points in November, down 2.6 points (1.6%) from its October revised value.

The FAO stated that the October value was trimmed following lower final published prices than earlier projected for bovine meat exports from Brazil and Australia.

With the exception of ovine meat, where prices rose due to limited supplies, quotations for the other categories of meat moved lower in November, it said.

For pigmeat, the FAO stated that the weakening reflected an oversupply within the European Union, which caused both domestic and export prices to fall.

For bovine meat, the fall was mainly caused by a reduced import demand in the United States, which intensified competition for market share elsewhere, it said.

Compared to November 2014, the FAO Food Price Index was about 18% lower, with meat values recording the sharpest fall, of 23%, followed by cereals and oils, which dropped by 16% each, dairy by 15% and finally sugar, which despite recent gains was still down 10% year-on-year.

The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 153.7 points in November, down 3.7 points (2.3%) from October and the lowest level since June 2010.

According to the FAO, coarse grains prices fell the most, under generally favourable harvesting conditions and confirmation of large supplies in the United States, the world’s largest maize producer and exporter.

Wheat quotations also receded, mostly on ample global supplies and weak international demand, it said.

Likewise, despite a tightening of supplies, the rice price sub-index subsided further, on falling aromatic and Japonica quotations, according to the FAO.

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