World food prices rebound from lows

In Business
April 06, 2024


World food prices rebounded in March from a three-year low, boosted by increases in vegetable oils, meat and dairy products, according to the United Nations food agency’s latest price index.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 118.3 points in March, up from a revised 117 points the previous month, the agency said on Friday.

The February reading was the lowest for the index since February 2021 and marked a seventh consecutive monthly decline.

International food prices have fallen sharply from a record peak in March 2022 at the start of Russia’s war with fellow crop exporter Ukraine.

The FAO’s latest monthly reading was 7.7% below the year-earlier level, it said.

In March, the agency’s vegetable oil price index led gains, jumping 8% month-on-month, with all major oils registering increases.

The dairy index gained 2.9% for a sixth straight monthly rise, driven by cheese and butter prices, while the FAO’s meat index added 1.7%, reflecting higher poultry and beef prices.

Those gains outweighed declines for cereals, which shed 2.6% from February, and for sugar, which fell 5.4%. Wheat led the decline in cereals amid strong export competition and cancelled purchases by China.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2024.

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