Global food prices at all-time high
FAO Food Price Index rises 3.9% to 140.7 points in Feb led by vegetable oils and dairy products
New Delhi: The benchmark gauge for world food prices went up in February, reaching an all-time high, led by vegetable oils and dairy products, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.
The FAO Food Price Index averaged 140.7 points in February, up 3.9 per cent from January, 20.7 per cent above its level a year earlier, and 3.1 points higher than reached in February 2011.
The Index tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly-traded food commodities. The FAO Vegetable Oils Price Index led the increase, rising 8.5 per cent from the previous month to reach a new record high, mostly driven by increased quotations for palm, soy and sunflower oils.
The sharp increase in the vegetable price index was principally driven by sustained global import demand, which coincided with a few supply-side factors, including reduced export availabilities of palm oil from Indonesia, the world's leading exporter, lower soybean production prospects in South America, and concerns about lower sunflower oil exports due to disruptions in the Black Sea region.
The FAO Dairy Price Index averaged 6.4 per cent higher in February than January, underpinned by lower-than-expected milk supplies in Western Europe and Oceania, as well as persistent import demand, especially from North Asia and the Middle East.
The FAO Cereal Price Index increased 3.0 percent from the previous month, led by rising quotations for coarse grains, with international maize prices up 5.1 per cent, due to a combination of continued concerns over crop conditions in South America, uncertainty about maize exports from Ukraine, and rising wheat export prices.