International food commodity prices rose for the 11th consecutive month in April, with sugar leading the increase and cereals resuming their upward trend, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported on May 6. (Graph quoted from FAO’s website)


The FAO Food Price Index averaged 120.9 points in April, 1.7 percent higher than March and 30.8 percent higher than its level in the same month last year. The index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly-traded food commodities, reached its highest level since May 2014, and in nominal terms is 12 percent below its all-time peak in February 2011.


The FAO Sugar Price Index increased 3.9 percent during the month to reach levels nearly 60 percent higher than in April 2020, with concerns over slow harvest progress in Brazil and frost damage in France heightening concerns over tighter global supplies.


The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index rose 1.8 percent in April as international palm oil quotations rose on concerns that production growth in major exporting countries would be slower than expected. Soy and rapeseed oil values also climbed further, while sunflower oil prices contracted moderately.


The FAO Meat Price Index rose 1.7 percent from its March value, with bovine, ovine and pig meat quotations underpinned by solid demand from East Asia. Poultry meat prices remained steady, reflecting generally balanced global markets.


The FAO Cereal Price index rose 1.2 percent in April, reversing a short-lived drop in March to stand 26 percent above its April 2020 level. Maize prices rose 5.7 percent -  to reach a level 66.7 percent higher than a year earlier - driven by smaller-than-anticipated planting intentions in the United States of America as well as concerns about crop conditions in Argentina, Brazil and the U.S.A. International wheat prices were generally steady, while quotations for rice, barley and sorghum softened.


The FAO Dairy Price Index increased 1.2 percent from March, with quotations for butter, cheese and skim milk powder rising due to solid import demand from Asia.