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World Food Price Index Ends 2023 Some 10% Below 2022 Levels

By Reuters
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World Food Price Index Ends 2023 Some 10% Below 2022 Levels

The United Nations food agency's world price index ended last year about 10% below its 2022, with values in December also down from the previous month, helping further ease concerns over global food price inflation.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) price index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 118.5 points in December, down 1.5% from November and 10.1% below December 2022 levels.

For 2023 as a whole, the index averaged 13.7% below year earlier levels, with only sugar prices higher over the period. The FAO's sugar price index did, however, decline 16.6% in December from November.

This was 'mainly driven by the strong pace of production in Brazil, along with reduced use of sugarcane for ethanol production in India,' the UN agency said in a statement.

Cereal Prices

The FAO's cereal price index rose 1.5% in December from November, as wheat, maize, rice and barley prices all rose amid hindered shipments from major exporting countries.

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For the year as a whole however, cereal prices were 15.4% below their 2022 average as markets are well supplied with the exception of rice.

The largest price falls were in vegetable oils, with the price index slumping 1.4% in December, from November, and a substantial 32.7% drop for the year as a whole.

The FAO's meat price index dipped 1.0% in December from November and was down 1.8% year-on-year, while the December diary price index rose 1.6% month-on-month, but was down 16.1% from a year earlier.

High food prices in recent years have prompted farmers worldwide to plant more cereals and oilseeds, but consumers are set to face tighter supplies well into 2024, amid adverse El Niño weather, export restrictions and higher biofuel mandates.

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