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Global food prices continue to rise in January

Food commodity prices
Global food prices continued to rise in January, marking the fourth consecutive month of price increases, according to the latest data from the UN’s Food Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Driven by price increases in vegetable oils, sugar and wheat, the FAO Food Price Index averaged 182.5 points in January, up 0.7% from December and 11.3% higher than January 2019.

The Cereal Price Index averaged 169.2 points in January, up 4.8 points (2.9%) from December and reaching its highest value since May 2018. International prices of all major cereals increased in January with wheat prices climbing the highest, followed by maize and rice, largely on firmer demand and a faster pace in purchases by several countries.

The Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 176.3 points in January, up 7% percent for the month, hitting a three-year high as prices for palm, soy, sunflower and rapeseed oils all rose. Prices lost strength in the second half of January, however, reflecting uncertainties over trade, the potential impact of the recent coronavirus outbreak and trade tensions between India and Malaysia.

Driven by strong import demand for butter, cheese and skim milk powder, the Dairy Price Index averaged 200.6 points in January, up 0.9% from December and 10.2% from January 2019.

The Sugar Price Index averaged 200.7 points in January, up 10.4 points (5.5%) from December, marking the fourth consecutive monthly increase and the highest level since December 2017. The increase was driven by expectations of a 17% drop in India’s sugar output, a 66 % production fall in Brazil’s largest producing region and a 25% contraction in Mexico’s harvest.

The Meat Price Index averaged 182.5 points in January, down 7.5 points (4%) from December, reversing an 11-month upward streak. Price quotations for all meat categories dropped in January, with those of ovine meat falling the most, followed by bovine, pig and poultry meats.

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