World Food Price Index Rises for Tenth-Straight Month


World food prices rose for the tenth-consecutive month in March, rising to their highest level since June of 2014. Reuters says the climb got sparked by costs rising in the vegetable oils, meat, and dairy indices.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s food price index measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat, and sugar. The index averaged 118.5 points in March, compared to 116.1 in February. The FAO says worldwide cereal harvests are on course to hit an annual record in 2020, with early indications for 2021 pointing to another production increase. The vegetable oil price index jumped eight percent to its highest level since 2011. Dairy prices also climbed for the tenth straight month, rising almost four percent and driven by a surge of imports in Asia. The meat index rose 2.3 percent but was still slightly down on a year-to-year basis. Poultry and pig prices increased in part because of the fast pace of imports in Asian countries, mainly China. Sugar prices dropped four percent month on month but were still 30 percent higher during the year. The drop in March was driven by prospects of large sugar exports from India.