GLOBAL— Global food commodity prices ease slightly in April after hitting a record high in March led by a significant downturn in the vegetable oil sub-index, along with a slight decline in the cereal price sub-index.

In the recently released FAO report, the Food Price Index averaged 158.5 points in April 2022, down 1.2 points from the all-time high reached in March, though still 36.4 points above its value in the corresponding month last year.

“The small decrease in the index is a welcome relief, particularly for low-income food-deficit countries, but still food prices remain close to their recent highs, reflecting persistent market tightness and posing a challenge to global food security for the most vulnerable,” said Máximo Torero Cullen, FAO Chief Economist.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 237.5 points in April, shedding 14.3 from the record high registered in March, but remaining markedly above its year-earlier level. The decline driven by lower world prices of palm, sunflower and soy oils.

Other countries step in to bolster Ukraine grain supply

 The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 169.5 points in April, down 0.7 points from the record high reached in March since 1990.

International coarse grain prices dropped by 1.8 percent in April, led by a 3.0 percent decline in maize prices. seasonal supplies from ongoing harvests in Argentina and Brazil helped ease the pressure on markets.

World sorghum prices also declined in April by 0.4 percent, while tight supplies pushed barley prices up by 2.5 percent.

International wheat prices edged upwards in April, albeit marginally, gaining 0.2 percent. Continued blockage of ports in Ukraine and concerns over 2022 crop conditions in the United States of America kept prices elevated.

However, the price increases were moderated by larger shipments from India, higher-than expected exports from Russia, and slightly dampened global demand as a result of high prices.

International rice prices in April went up 2.3 percent from their March levels, sustained by a combination of strong local demand in various Asian exporters, purchases by Near Eastern and Chinese buyers and weather setbacks in the Americas.

Sugar, meat and dairy price sub-indices sustain moderate increases

FAO’s Sugar Price Index averaged 121.8 points in April, up 3.9 points from March. Higher ethanol prices in Brazil coupled with the Brazilian Real facing off well against the US dollar, continued to underpin the increase in world sugar prices.

India, a major sugar exporter, bolstered the global supply outlook and prevented more substantial price increases.

FAO’s Meat Price Index averaged 121.9 points in April, up 2.7 points from March, a new record high. The continued price strength stemmed from higher world poultry, pig and bovine meat prices.

FAO’s Dairy Price Index averaged 147.1 points in April, up 1.3 points from March, driven by the persistent global supply tightness.

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