Blog Post

Cereal Prices Fall in June, Concerns over Weather Remain

After three consecutive months of increasing prices, the FAO Food Price Index remained steady in June, with rising vegetable oil, sugar, and dairy prices balancing falling cereal prices. The Index remained 2.1 percent below its June 2023 level and almost 25 percent below the peak seen in March 2022.

The Cereal Price Index fell by 3 percent in June and by 11.4 percent from its June 2023 level. Wheat prices experienced seasonal declines in the northern hemisphere; improved prospects in some exporting countries and Turkey’s temporary import ban helped drive prices down further. Maize prices fell due to larger than anticipated harvests in Argentina and Brazil and good crop conditions in the United States. Rice prices were driven down in June due to low trading activity.

The Vegetable Oil Index rose 3.1 percent in June to reach its highest level since March 2023. Palm oil prices saw increased import demand, while soy prices rose due to increasing demand from the biofuel sector. Sunflower oil prices rose due to limited export availabilities in the Black Sea region.

The Dairy and Sugar Price Indices rose by 1.2 and 1.9 percent, respectively, in June, while the Meat Price Index remained unchanged.

The latest AMIS Market Monitor also cited falling wheat prices and highlighted concerns over extreme heat and the potential impact on global agricultural production.

The June AMIS editorial turned its attention to trade policy, specifically policies designed to insulate domestic food prices from global trends. While such policies are intended to prevent excessive price volatility at home, they tend to only exacerbate volatility in global markets, creating more challenges for food and nutrition security in the long run. The article suggests strengthening policy coordination among AMIS member countries to better synchronize action in times of market uncertainty, as well as establishing more effective WTO commitments on policies such as export taxes and restrictions, ad hoc import tariff shifts, and bound tariff levels.

Wheat production forecasts for 2024 increased slightly in June due to improving prospects in several producing countries. Wheat utilization expectations also increased slightly, but overall utilization is still expected to decline from its 2023-2024 level. Wheat trade expectations for 2024-2025 fell due to declining import demand in India and Turkey and falling exports from Russia. Global wheat ending stocks for 2025 are still expected to be slightly below their opening levels.

Maize production expectations also increased slightly in June, but overall production is still expected to be 1.1 percent below its 2023 level. Utilization is forecast to be 0.9 percent above 2023-2024 levels. Maize trade for 2024-2025 is forecast to fall by 4.4 percent from the previous year despite anticipated higher exports from Ukraine and imports by China and Zambia. Global maize ending stock expectations for 2025 fell in June, but stocks are still forecast to be 2.7 percent above opening levels.

Rice production forecasts remained unchanged in June, while rice utilization is still anticipated to reach a record high in 2024-2025. Trade forecasts fell slightly in June due to lower import expectations from China. Global rice ending stocks are anticipated to reach a new record in 2024-2025.

Soybean production expectations fell slightly in June due to smaller expected harvested area in the European Union and United States. Soybean utilization forecasts also fell slightly, but overall utilization for 2024-2025 is expected to be more than 5 percent above the previous year. Soybean trade and global ending stock forecasts both remained stable.

Fertilizer prices continued their overall rise in June, but the increase was less steep than that seen in May. Urea prices were driven up due to limited natural gas availability in Egypt, as well as continued export restrictions in China. Phosphorus fertilizer prices rose slightly due to lower exports from China and resulting tight supplies. Potash prices remained largely steady in June, with global supplies keeping pace with import demand so far.