Food prices remain nearly unchanged in March, UN agency reports

5 April 2012

World food prices in March remained virtually unchanged from their February levels, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported today, adding that dairy prices are at their lowest level since August 2010

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The latest FAO Food Price Index, a measure of basic food prices at the global level that is published every month, averaged 216 points in March, compared to 215 in February.

Regarding the various commodity groups, only oils prices showed strength, compensating for falling dairy quotations, while the indices of cereals, sugar and meat prices were largely unchanged from last month’s level, according to the Index.

Among cereals, maize prices registered some gain, supported by low inventories and a strong soybean market, but wheat changed little as supplies remained ample.

After several months of declines, prices of rice recovered somewhat in March, underpinned by large purchases by China and Nigeria.

The oils/fats price index rose six points from February, with FAO citing weak growth in world palm oil production and limited global soy oil export availabilities, combined with declining grapeseed oil production, as contributing factors.

Meat prices rose “marginally” from the previous month, with prices in the first quarter 3.5 per cent higher overall than last year.

Meanwhile, dairy prices were down five points from February and registered the lowest level since August 2010. Sugar prices remained unchanged from the previous month, but were volatile overall, the agency added.

 

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