FAO Food Price Index down in September
The FAO Food Price Index (FFPI) averaged 165.4 points in September 2018, down 2.3 points (1.4 Percent) from August and some 13 points (7.4 percent) below its level in the corresponding period last year.
Only the sugar price index firmed in September, whereas the values of the other sub-indices, led by cereals, dropped from the previous month.
The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged almost 164 points in September, a drop of 4.7 points (2.8 percent) from August, but still 12 points (8 percent) above its September 2017 level.
Among the major cereals, the sharpest month-on-month decline concerned maize export quotations, which fell by at least 4 percent from August, mostly on expectations of a very large crop in the United States and ample supply prospects globally.
Wheat price quotations, which rose sharply in August, also fell in September, mainly on continued strong sales and shipments from the Russian Federation.
International rice prices eased for the third successive month, even though an appreciation of the Thai Baht and expectations of sales to the Philippines limited the September decline to around 1 percent.
The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 134.9 points in September, down 3.2 points (or 2.3 percent) from August. Falling for the eighth month in succession, the Index has reached a three-year low. Prices weakened across the vegetable oil sector, with palm oil registering the most notable decline.
Large inventories held in major exporting countries continued to weigh on palm oil values, which recorded a 25 percent drop compared to the corresponding month of last year.
International soy and rapeseed oil quotations also fell, underpinned by subdued global import demand, while the arrival of ample new-crop supplies in the Black Sea region exerted downward pressure on sunflower oil prices.
The FAO Dairy Price Index averaged 191.5 points in September, down 4.7 points (2.4 percent) from the previous month, continuing the downward trend for the fourth consecutive month.
In September, international prices of butter, cheese and Whole Milk Powder (WMP) declined while those of Skim Milk Powder (SMP) recovered. The potential for much larger export availabilities weighed on international prices of butter, cheese and WMP. However, SMP prices registered another intermittent recovery in September, resulting in a 16.2 percent gain since the start of the year, largely underpinned by stronger demand for freshly manufactured milk powder.
The FAO Meat Price Index averaged 166.2 points in September, down marginally from its revised value for August. International prices of bovine and pig meat remained mostly stable, while those of ovine meat and poultry rose. International prices of ovine meat increased for the fourth consecutive month, reflecting continued supply limitations from Oceania and strong import demand from Asia. Robust demand amid short-term supply constraints, notably in Brazil, also contributed to somewhat firmer poultry prices. However, ample export availabilities in Oceania and the United States kept bovine prices under downward pressure, while new cases of African swine fever and associated import restrictions, weighed on pigmeat values.
The FAO Sugar Price Index averaged 161.4 points in September, up 4 points (2.6 percent) from August, but still almost 43 percent below its level in the corresponding month last year. The increase in September was largely linked to the ongoing sugar harvesting operations in Brazil, the world’s largest sugar producer and exporter.
Drought conditions in Brazil during the critical growing season are seen to have had negative impacts on sugarcane yields, with harvested cane volumes falling below expectations. Furthermore, rising concerns over crop prospects in the South and South-East Asian region, notably in India and Indonesia, due to monsoon rainfalls falling below normal levels, provided additional upward support to International sugar price quotations.