Wheat and corn helped to lead the way down as world food prices eased in May, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations reported Friday.
The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly traded food commodities, averaged 124.3 points in May, down 2.6% from April and as much as 22.1% below the all-time high reached in March 2022 following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The May decline in food prices follows a slight uptick in April, when the index inched up 0.6% to 127.2 points. The increase in April was the first in a year.
The FAO Cereal Price Index fell 4.8% in May from the previous month, led by a 9.8% drop in world corn quotations due to a favourable production outlook and weak import demand. World wheat prices declined, by 3.5%, reflecting ample supplies and the new extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. In contrast, international prices of rice continued to increase in May, underpinned by Asian purchases and tighter supplies in some exporting countries, such as Viet Nam and Pakistan.
The Vegetable Oil Price Index dropped by 8.7% in May, averaging 48.2% below its year-earlier level. International palm oil prices fell markedly from April, as protracted weak global import purchases coincided with rising outputs in major producing countries. World soyoil prices fell for the sixth consecutive month amid a bumper soybean crop in Brazil and higher-than-expected US stocks. Rapeseed and sunflower oil prices continued to decline on ample global supplies.
Also declining in May was the Dairy Price Index, which fell 3.2% from April. On the other hand, the Sugar Price Index and the Meat Price Index both saw gains, rising 5.5% and 1%, respectively. Part of the increase in the meat index was driven by higher prices for cattle in the US, where supplies are tightening.