ROME: World food prices rose in February, lifted in part by a jump in dairy prices, the United Nations food agency said yesterday.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 167.5 points last month, up 1.7 per cent on January.
Despite the rise, the index was still 2.3pc below its level of this time last year.
The FAO dairy price index jumped 5.6pc from January’s value, driven by strong import demand for skim milk powder, whole milk powder and cheese.
FAO’s vegetable oil price index rose 1.8pc from the previous month, while its sugar index rose 1.2pc and its cereal index made marginal gains on January. The meat price index was also slightly stronger.
FAO lowered its latest world cereal production forecast for 2018 to 2.609 billion tonnes, against the 2.611bn it forecast a month ago.
“The latest revision rests almost entirely on a lower estimate for the US maize output and reinforces an overall year-on-year decrease in global cereal production,” FAO said.
The UN agency also made its first forecast for world wheat production in 2019, estimating it at 757 million tonnes – 4pc above the 2018 level but short of the record high registered in 2017.