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After four straight months of increases, the FAO Food Price Index declined slightly in February. The one percent drop was driven mainly by significant decreases in vegetable oil prices and more moderate decreases in meat and cereal prices. The Index remains above its February 2019 levels by 8.1 percent.

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By: Sara Gustafson

The FAO Food Price Index continued to rise in January for the fourth consecutive month. While the month-on-month increase from December was marginal (0.7 percent), the Index reached 11.3 percent higher than its January 2019 levels. The increase was driven mainly by vegetable oil prices, although cereal prices also played a role to a lesser extent.

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Strong rebounds in global vegetable oil prices, as well as sugar and dairy prices, drove the FAO Food Price Index to its highest point in five years in December. The December Index rose by 4.4. percent from November, the third such consecutive monthly increase, and reached 181.7 points.

Despite this surge, however, the overall Index for 2019 only rose by 3.3 percent from 2018 levels and remained well below the record 230 points set in 2011.

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The FAO Food Price Index reached a 26-month high in November and rose almost 10 percent above November 2018 levels. This significant increase was driven mostly by meat and vegetable oil prices.

Photo credit: Tri Saputro/CIFOR

In January 2018, the FAO Food Price Index rose by 1.8 percent from its end-of-the-year levels. This increase was driven mainly by a sharp rise in dairy prices, as well as slighter increases in vegetable oil and sugar prices. The Index remained 2.2 percent below January 2017 levels, however.

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Global food prices in December 2018 declined from the levels seen in December of the previous year, according to the first FAO Food Price Index of the new year. For 2018 as a whole, the Index fell by about 3.5 percent from 2017 and by almost 27 from the all-time highs seen in 2011 during the global food price crisis. However, the price of all major cereal crops covered by the Index rose in 2018.

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The FAO Food Price Index declined somewhat in September, falling 1.4 percent from August to an average of 165.4 points. This represents a 7.4 percent decline from September 2017 levels.

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The FAO Food Price Index remained virtually unchanged in August, although cereal prices rose as a result of declining crop prospects. At 167.6 points, the Index is around 9 percent lower than its August 2017 levels.

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The FAO Food Price Index fell sharply in July, the largest such decline since December 2017. The Index dropped by around 3.7 percent month-to-month from June, as well as 3.7 percent from its July 2017 levels. The decline is driven by reductions across all sub-indices.

The Cereal Price Index fell 3.6 percent from June and 0.8 percent from July 2017. The price of wheat, maize, and rice declined in June, although maize and wheat prices crept back up toward the end of the month due to concerns over production prospects.

Rising trade tensions drove the FAO Food Price Index down slightly in June. The 1.3-percent decline represents the first month-to-month drop since the beginning of 2018.

The Cereal Price Index fell by 3.7 percent but remains almost 8 percent higher than its June 2017 level. In June, wheat and maize prices fell sharply as a result of trade tensions, despite poor production prospects in many areas. Rice prices, on the other hand, rose based on tight supplies for some varieties.

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