The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization predicts a declining international trade in foodstuffs for multiple reasons. While the organization’s latest forecasts point to favorable production outlooks for most basic foodstuffs, global food production systems remain vulnerable to several risks.
Those challenges include extreme weather events, rising geopolitical tensions, and policy changes that could potentially tip the delicate supply-demand balances and dampen prospects for international trade in food commodities and global food security. The global food import bill is forecast to reach a new high of $2 trillion in 2023. High-income and upper-middle-class countries are expected to lead the increase. Other challenges include the cost of shipping those foodstuffs.
Dry bulk freight costs across the grains and oilseeds routes mostly edged higher during the six months leading up to October 2023 but remained well below last year’s levels. However, robust demand has led to a recent rebound in freight rates.