FAO food prices fall for eighth straight month

FAO food prices fall for eighth straight month

Yemenis displaced by the conflict receive food aid and supplies to meet their basic needs at a camp in Hays district in the war-ravaged western province of Hodeida on August 31, 2022. KHALED ZIAD AFP PARIS - The United Nations food agency's world price index fell marginally in November, marking an eighth monthly fall since a record high in March after the conflict in Ukraine started.

The FAO price index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 135.7 points last month, down from 135.9 for October, the agency said on Friday.

The figure for October was not changed from the previous estimate of the FAO.

The FAO said lower readings for cereals, meat and dairy products in November offset higher prices for vegetable oils and sugar.

Last month's agreement to prolong a UN-backed grain export channel from Ukraine for another 120 days has tempered worries about disruption to massive Black Sea trade.

The FAO food index is now only 0.3 percent above the level of a year ago because of the slight decrease in November, the agency said.

The indicator remains at historically high levels after reaching a 10 year peak in 2021 due to harvest setbacks and brisk demand.

The FAO warned last month that expected record food import costs in 2022 would lead the poorest countries to reduce shipped volumes.

In separate cereal supply and demand estimates, the FAO lowered its forecast for global cereal production in 2022 to 2.756 billion tons from 2.764 billion estimated last month.

The projection was 2 percent less than the projected output for 2021 and would be a three-year low, the FAO said.

It said that post-harvest operations in Ukraine were prohibitively expensive due to the fact that the global cereal crop projection reflected weak maize corn prospects.

By the end of the 2022 23 season, world cereal stocks were revised down by 1.1 million tons to 839 million tons, which is 2.2 percent less than the previous season and the lowest level for three years.

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The FAO said that the global cereal stock-to-use ratio, which was often used as a supply indicator, would drop to its lowest since 2013 but at a forecast 29.3 percent it would still represent a relatively comfortable level.