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World Food Price Index Hits 17-Month Low
USAgNet - 06/04/2020

World food prices fell for a fourth consecutive month in May, hit by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic which has stymied demand, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) food priceindex, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals,oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 162.5 points last month, down 1.9% on April.

According to Reuters, it was the lowest monthly reading since December 2018. The dairy index dropped 7.3%, led by sharp falls in both butter and cheese, partly because of lower import demand.

The cereal price index slipped 1% as coarse grain prices continued their decline, with U.S. maize prices some 16% down on the year, and wheat export prices falling, amid expectations of ample global supplies. International rice prices edged higher.

Vegetable oil prices fell 2.8% to a 10-month low, while the meat index slipped 0.8%. Poultry and pig meat quotations continued to fall, reflecting high export availabilities and despite an increase in import demand in East Asia.

Bucking the general downward trend, the sugar price index jumped 7.4% in April largely because of lower-than-expected harvests in some major producers, notably India and Thailand.

FAO also posted its first forecast for the 2020 cereal season, foreseeing global output of 2.780 billion tonnes -- a 2.6% increase on 2019's record harvest.

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