Photo Credit: flickr (World Bank)

The Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) organized a special event "Food Market Outlook - An AMIS Perspective for 2015/16" at Expo Milan on Monday, 19 October 2015. Leading experts from AMIS-participating countries presented the outlook for wheat, maize, rice and soybean markets and addressed questions from a live and virtual audience on topics including:

  • 2015’s record low commodity prices,
  • the relationship between oil prices and food prices,
  • the role of food insecurity in ethnic conflict,
  • the predicted impact weather shocks from El Niño on production and prices,
  • the possible end of the “commodity market supercycle,” and more.

The event took place in the framework of the 8th Session of the Global Food Market Information Group. Speakers included Joseph Glauber, International Food Policy Research Institute; Ann Berg, expert in capital markets and commodity futures; Eric Willems, DG Agriculture at the European Commission; Seth Meyer, United States Department of Agriculture; Marcelo Fernandes Guimãres, Brazil Ministry of Agriculture; and Romeo Recide, Philippine Statistics Authority.

Hover over each slide for commentary:

The FAO Food Price Index for September 2015 experienced a one point increase from its record-low August value, and it is still 18.9 percent less than one year ago. The increase was attributable to the Dairy and Sugar Indices, with weather shocks in Brazil, India and Thailand expected to create a larger deficit in 2015/2016 sugar production than originally anticipated.

The cereals index also remained almost unchanged, with cereals 13.1 percent down year-on-year, attributable to continued abundant supplies and positive forecasts. The AMIS Market Monitor reported upward adjustments to wheat stocks (ending 2016) due mostly to larger buildups in China and the EU as wheat production estimates rose in China, the EU, and Kazakhstan.

On the other hand, while the Market Monitor reported that Thai rice prices in early October were almost 17 percent lower than this time last year, the October World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) from the USDA projected global 2015/2016 rice ending stocks at 88.3 million tons, down 1.9 million from last month and the lowest since 2007/2008. Stocks have dropped 22.5 million tons or 20 percent since 2012/13. The global stocks-to-use ratio (representing approximately 66 days of use) is at 18.1 percent, the smallest since 2006/2007. USDA forecasts global rice production at 474.0 million tons, down 1.7 million from last month, primarily due to smaller crops forecast for India and Thailand (again, the role of weather shocks is in play). Despite tighter global supplies, rice prices continue to be low relative to recent years.

For information on additional commodities and more price and production forecasts, read the full reports:

AMIS Market Monitor No.32 – October 2015
FAO Food Price Index
WASDE - 546

For monthly summaries from the AMIS Market Monitor, FAO Monthly News Report on Grain, WASDE and more, register for “Food for Thought” blog updates from the Global Food Security Portal.

BY: Rachel Kohn, IFPRI

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