Global food prices gallop to a more than decade high

World food prices increased in May at their fastest monthly rate in more than a decade, posting a 12th consecutive monthly increase to hit their highest level since September 2011, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday, Reuters reports.

FAO also issued its first forecast for world cereal production in 2021, predicting output of nearly 2.821 billion tons — a new record and 1.9 percent up on 2020 levels.

The Food and Agriculture Organization’s food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 127.1 points last month versus a revised 121.3 in April.

The April figure was previously given as 120.9.

On a year-on-year basis, prices were up by 39.7 percent in May.

FAO’s cereal price index climbed by 6 percent in May month-on-month and 36.6 percent year-on-year. Maize prices led the surge and are now 89.9 percent above their year-earlier value, however FAO said they fell back at the end of the month, lifted by an improved production outlook in the United States.

The vegetable oil price index jumped by 7.8 percent in May, lifted mainly by rising palm, soy and rapeseed oil quotations. Palm oil prices were boosted by slow production growth in southeast Asia, while prospects of robust global demand, especially from the biodiesel sector, drove up soyoil prices.

The sugar index posted a 6.8 percent month-on-month gain, due largely to harvest delays and concerns over reduced crop yields in Brazil, the world’s largest sugar exporter, FAO said.

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