Global food prices grow first time in 7 months

Global food prices. Photo courtesy: Jade Marchand viaUnsplash

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IBNS-CMEDIA: Global food prices experienced a surge in March, marking the first increase since July, driven mainly by the rise in cooking oil prices, even as the costs of grains continued to decrease, stated the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization on Friday.

The FAO’s comprehensive Food Price Index escalated by 1.1 percent during the month, reaching 118.3 points in March 2024. However, when compared annually, it registered a decline of 7.7 percent.

The sub-index for vegetable oils surged by 8.0 percent in March, reaching a one-year peak.

According to the FAO, prices for palm, soy, sunflower, and rapeseed oils all witnessed an upward trend.

The increase in palm oil prices was attributed to seasonal declines in production in major producing nations coinciding with robust demand in Southeast Asia, while demand from the biofuel sector contributed to the rise in soy oil prices.

Dairy prices saw a monthly increase of 2.9 percent in March, while meat prices rose by 1.7 percent.

In contrast, cereals prices declined by 2.6 percent on a monthly basis, and sugar prices fell by 5.4 percent.

Although food prices reached record highs following Russia’s invasion of agricultural power Ukraine in February 2022, they have since decreased.

However, last month’s uptick coincides with a significant slowdown in inflation in many countries.

Concerns have arisen due to the recent rebound in global oil prices, as it may persist at a level that could dissuade central banks from reducing interest rates.