ROME, April 7 (Reuters) – The United Nations meals agency’s planet cost index fell in March for a 12th consecutive month, and is now down 20.five% from a record higher hit one particular year ago following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Meals and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) cost index, which tracks the most globally traded meals commodities, averaged 126.9 points final month against 129.7 for February, the agency mentioned on Friday. It was the lowest reading because July 2021.
The February reading was initially offered as 129.eight.
A mixture of ample supplies, subdued import demand and the extension of a deal permitting the protected export of Ukrainian grain by means of the Black Sea contributed to the drop, FAO mentioned.
The Rome-primarily based agency mentioned the decline in the index reflected reduced costs for cereals, vegetable oils and dairy items, which offset rises in sugar and meat costs.
“Though costs dropped at the worldwide level, they are nevertheless pretty higher and continue to improve in domestic markets, posing more challenges to meals safety,” Maximo Torero, FAO’s chief economist mentioned in a statement.
“This is specifically so in net meals importing creating nations, with the predicament aggravated by the depreciation of their currencies against the U.S. dollar or the euro and a mounting debt burden,” he added.
The FAO cereal cost index fell five.six% month-on-month in March, with wheat registering a 7.1% drop, maize a four.six% decline and rice easing three.two %.
Vegetable oils fell three.%, some 47.7% down on the level the index hit in March 2022, even though the dairy index was down .eight%.
By contrast, sugar rose 1.five% to its highest level because October 2016, hit by issues more than declining production prospects in India, Thailand and China. The meat cost index rose by .eight%.
Greater WHEAT PRODUCTION
In a separate report on cereals provide and demand, the FAO raised its forecast for planet wheat production in 2023, now pegged at 786 million tonnes — 1.three% beneath the 2022 level but nonetheless the second biggest outturn on record.
“Close to-record sown locations are anticipated in Asia, even though dry situations are impacting North Africa and southern Europe,” FAO mentioned.
FAO also raised its forecast for planet cereal production in 2022 to two.777 billion tonnes, just 1.two% down from the prior year. Globe rice production in 2022/23 was noticed at 516 million tonnes, 1.six% beneath the record 2021/22 harvest.
Globe cereal utilisation in the 2022/23 period was noticed at two.779 billion tonnes, FAO mentioned, down .7% from 2021/22. Globe cereal stocks by the close of the 2022/2023 seasons are anticipated to ease by .three% from their opening levels to 850 million tonnes.
Editing by Crispian Balmer
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