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This tool was developed by David Laborde Debucquet, the Senior Research Fellow at IFPRI.
The stock-to-use ratio is an important indicator of the vulnerability of world food markets to shocks. The ratio represents the level of carryover stock of a given commodity as a percentage of the total use of that commodity.
When stock-to-use ratios in major commodities are high, more supply is available in inventory, meaning that countries can smooth consumption and even out prices in the case of a shock. Storage can help to mitigate a fall in prices after a bumper crop, while releasing stocks after a poor harvest can lessen the impact of that shock on otherwise tight markets. This stabilizing effect of stocks in the case of a supply shortfall is not possible when inventories are low, triggering an increase in the severity of price spikes and volatility.
Data on stocks are a valuable complement to price data and the Food Security Portal’s Food Price Variability Early Warning System. There is a strong relationship between food commodity prices and stock-to-use ratios.
Stock-to-use ratios serve as indicators of vulnerability to shortages and price spikes.
Stock-to-use ratios are low
When stock-to-use ratios are low, markets are likely tight and volatility in food prices more extreme.
Food price volatility
Food price volatility associated with low stock-to-use ratios affects farmers, traders, processors, and consumers – particularly poor consumers who spend a large share of their income on food.
The dashboard covers the major four food commodities: maize, oilseed/soybean, rice, and wheat. The various panels on the dashboard allow you to see data such as production, domestic consumption, ending stocks, and stock-to-use ratios across countries and time periods.
For example, in the "Aggregator via Map" tab, click on a country to get country-specific information and compare stock-to-use ratios across time periods. 2008/09 and 2020/21 are selected as default periods.
The Excessive Food Price Variability Early Warning System
The Production, Supply, and Distribution (PSD) database contains current and historical official USDA data on production, supply, and distribution of agricultural commodities for the United States and key producing and consuming countries.