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The global food price index hit its highest level since 2014

Global wheat production saw an increase of 7.5 million tons last year. (AP photo)

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today, Thursday, that global food prices rose for the ninth consecutive month in February, reaching their highest level since July 2014, led by jumps in sugar and vegetable oils.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of grains, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 116.0 points last month, compared to a slightly revised 113.2 in January.

The January number was previously given as 113.3.

The Rome-based FAO said in a statement that cereal crops around the world are still on their way to reaching an annual record level in 2020, adding that initial indications point to another increase in production this year.

The FAO Cereal Price Index rose 1.2% month over month in February.

Among the major coarse grains, sorghum prices rose 17.4% on the month and 82.1% year on year, driven by strong demand from China.

The FAO said maize and rice prices rose while wheat export prices remained largely stable.

Sugar prices rose 6.4% month over month amid supply concerns in 2020/21 due to lower production in major producing countries and strong demand from Asia.

The vegetable oil price index rose 6.2%, reaching its highest level since April 2012, with palm oil prices rising for the ninth month, supported by concerns about declining stocks in major exporting countries.

Dairy prices rose 1.7%, while the meat index posted a modest 0.6% gain.

The FAO said that pork prices fell, affected by reduced purchases from China, amid a large oversupply and an increase in the number of pigs not sold in Germany due to the ban on exports to Asian markets.

The FAO raised its forecast for the 2020 cereal season to 2,761 billion tons from an estimate of 2,744 billion tons last month, indicating a 1.9 percent increase year-on-year.

That revision reflects an increase of 7.5 million tons in estimates of global wheat production, driven by recent official data from Australia, the European Union, Kazakhstan and Russia.

Global rice production forecasts were also raised by 2.6 million tons compared to last month based on a more prosperous production outlook from India.

The FAO raised its forecast for global cereal stocks ending in 2021 by 9 million tons to 811 million, representing a decrease of 0.9% year-on-year.

“Looking to the future, current indicators point to a slight increase in global cereal production in 2021,” the FAO said.

“While most of the wheat crop in the northern hemisphere remains dormant and southern hemisphere countries have yet to plant, the FAO preliminary forecasts of global wheat production in 2021 indicate a third consecutive annual increase, to reach 780 million tons, a record high. new.”

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