The benchmark index of international food commodity prices
has declined 2.1 per cent compared to July, the United Nations Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Friday.
The prices of rice, however, surged by 9.8 per cent in August to a 15-year high compared to a month earlier. The increase was triggered by India's rice export ban from July, complicated by a seasonal lull in production between rice harvests in the Northern Hemisphere.
Overall prices for grains and cereals, the largest component in the index, slipped by 0.7 per cent due to strong harvests from major producers. Corn prices fell for the seventh consecutive month based on bumper crops in Brazil, while wheat prices were 3.8 per cent lower based on strong harvests in the United States and Canada.
FAO said four of the five broad sub-indexes saw declines. In addition to the slight dip in prices for grains and cereals, prices were also lower for vegetable oils, dairy products, and meat.
Sugar prices, meanwhile, rose by 1.3 per cent and were more than 34 per cent above their levels from a year earlier. FAO said the increase in sugar prices stemmed from persisting concerns about impacts from the El Nio weather phenomenon in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Sugar output in India was also hurt by low rainfall there, while heavy rains made sugar harvests more difficult in Brazil.
The next FAO food price index is scheduled for publication on Oct. 6, 2023.