Market Speaks: FAO Cereal Price Index Hits 27 Month High

Global agricultural food commodity prices edged up in May, with dairy prices recording a significant jump. The FAO Food Price Index averaged 176.2 points during the month, up 1.2% from April. The FAO Food Price Index is a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities.

The FAO Dairy Price Index increased 5.5% in May, averaging 11.5% higher than a year earlier. Tight supplies in New Zealand, the leading exporter of dairy products, are behind much of the market firmness in recent months.

The FAO Cereal Price index rose 2.4% from April, marking a 17% increase on the year to reach its highest level since January 2015. Wheat values increased largely on concerns over production prospects in a number of major exporting countries, while deteriorating harvest prospects in South America led coarse grain prices up. International rice prices were also firm, buoyed by sizable purchases by Southeast Asian buyers.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index declined by 2.6% to a 27-month low. Quoted prices for palm, soy and sunflower oils all dropped, due in part to large global inventories.

The FAO Meat Price Index slipped marginally, while the FAO Sugar Price Index posted its sixth consecutive monthly drop, declining 0.5% from April, reflecting favourable harvesting conditions in major production areas in Brazil – the largest producer and exporter of sugar in the world.