According to the latest FAO Food Price Index, global food prices declined in December, led by a decrease for vegetable oils and dairy products. The index stood at 169.8 points in December 2017, down 3.3% from November. However, the index averaged 174.6 points in 2017, up 8.2% from 2016 and reaching the highest annual average since 2014.
The FAO Dairy Price Index
declined 9.7% in December, with high export supplies and subdued demand weighing on the international prices of skim and whole milk powders as well as cheese and butter. Still, the subindex was 31.5% higher over the whole of 2017 than the previous year.
The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index
declined by 5.6% from November, as palm oil prices tumbled amid swelling stocks in Malaysia and Indonesia. That, in turn, pressured down soy oil quotations. Over 2017, the subindex ran 3% higher than the prior year.
The FAO Sugar Price Index
also declined, marking a 4.1% drop from November due to seasonal factors and expectations of a large surplus in the year ahead. Sugar prices were 11.2% lower, on average, in 2017 than in 2016, due largely to a bumper harvest in Brazil, the world's leading producer.
The FAO Cereal Price Index
remained broadly stable for the third consecutive month, with international wheat prices weakening while those of maize and rice firming up. The Index was 3.2% higher over 2017 than in 2016, while still 37% below its 2011 peak.
The FAO Meat Price Index
slipped slightly in December, with strong supply pressuring international prices for bovine meat down. For the year, the subindex registered a 9% increase from its 2016 level.