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Global Food Prices Hold Steady in November

Higher prices in vegetable oils were offset by lower prices in cereals. Meanwhile, record grain harvests are expected in the coming year.

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The benchmark for world food commodity prices was stable overall in November, though a closer look at separate food indexes shows some ups and downs. Lower cereal prices, for example, were offset by higher prices for vegetable oils, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

The FAO Food Price Index (FFPI), which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of a set of globally traded food commodities, averaged 120.4 points in November, unchanged from October’s level. Year-over-year, prices have dropped 10.7%.

November’s FAO Cereal Price Index decreased by 3.0% from the previous month, though not all grain prices fell at the same rate—prices for coarse grains dropped by 5.6% while wheat prices declined by 2.4% and rice remained stable overall.

FAO released a separate report today in which it raised its forecast for the season’s cereal harvest. World cereal production is expected to reach 2.823 billion tonnes, up 0.9% over last year and 10.3 million tonnes above the previous record high in 2021. Russia and Turkey both saw an uptick in wheat output, as was the case for maize in the U.S.

The Vegetable Oil Price Index saw a rise in price, meanwhile, of 3.4% month-over-month. The rise was particularly steep for palm oil prices, which saw a 6.0% rebound in November. This is “chiefly underpinned by more active purchases by leading importing countries and seasonally lower outputs in major producing countries,” the FAO says. “World sunflower oil prices rose moderately, while quotations for soy oil and rapeseed oils dropped slightly in November.”

The Dairy Price Index rose 2.2% from October, led by high import demand for butter and skim milk powder from Northeast Asia, along with increased demand in Western Europe ahead of holiday season.

Though the Sugar Price Index was up by just 1.4% month-over-month, it reflects a level that averages 41.1% higher than a year ago. There is heightened concern about the availability of global exports, particularly with El Niño-related dry weather conditions in Thailand and India.

With minor price drops in poultry, pork, and beef, the Meat Price Index dipped 0.4% from October.

Read more about the latest FAO Food Price Index and also check out the latest Cereal Supply and Demand Brief

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