Photo credit: United Soybean Board

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.

In December, the Cereal Price Index rose 1.8 percent from November 2018 and 9.6 percent from December 2017. Concerns over wheat harvests in Argentina and reduced export supplies caused an increase in global wheat prices. Similarly, poor weather conditions in the southern hemisphere and strong global demand drove up maize prices. Rice prices, on the other hand, fell for the sixth consecutive month due largely to reduced trade. While the Cereal Price Index for 2018 as a whole was higher than that seen in 2017, global cereal prices remained well below the highs seen in 2011 (31 percent). Global ending stocks remain ample despite reduced output of wheat and maize in 2018.

The Vegetable Oil Price Index saw a small increase (0.4 percent) in December 2018 compared to November 2018. The increase was driven by higher palm oil prices; soybean and rapeseed oil prices continued their 10-month decline. For 2018 as a whole, the Index fell 15 percent from 2017 and reached its lowest level since 2007.

Global meat prices fell by around 2.2 percent in 2018 as a whole, while dairy prices fell by 4.6 percent and sugar prices fell by almost 22 percent.

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