STAT Communications Ag Market News

Global Food Values Eased in April

ROME - May 6/22 - SNS -- Modest declines in vegetable oils and cereals resulted in some easing of global food ingredient price inflation in April, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The FAO Food Price Index averaged 158.5 points, down 0.8% from the all-time high reached in March. At the same time the FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index fell 5.7% in April, shedding almost a third of the increase registered in March, as demand rationing pushed down prices for palm, sunflower and soy oils. Uncertainties about export availabilities out of Indonesia, the world’s leading palm oil exporter, contained further declines in international prices.

The FAO Cereal Price Index declined by 0.7 points in April, nudged down by a 3.0% decline in world maize prices. International wheat prices, strongly affected by continued blockage of ports in Ukraine and concerns over crop conditions in the United States of America but tempered by larger shipments from India and higher-than-expected exports from the Russian Federation, increased by 0.2%. International rice prices increased by 2.3% from their March levels, buoyed by strong demand from China and the Near East.

By contrast, STAT's global pulse price index gained 1.8% in April, for a 30.9% jump over the same month last year. Those markets were still influenced by the last year's crop failures in Canada and parts of the United States, but are well below their post harvest highs.

Meanwhile, the FAO Sugar Price Index increased by 3.3%, buoyed by higher ethanol prices and concerns over the slow start of the 2022 harvest in Brazil, the world’s largest sugar exporter.

The FAO Meat Price Index increased by 2.2% from the previous month, setting a new record high, as prices rose for poultry, big and bovine meat. Poultry meat prices were affected by disruptions to exports from Ukraine and rising avian influenza outbreaks in the Northern hemisphere. By contrast, ovine meat prices averaged marginally lower.

The FAO Dairy Price Index also was up, by 0.9%, on the back of persistent global supply tightness as milk output in Western Europe and Oceania continued to track below their seasonal levels. World butter prices rose the most, influenced by a surge in demand associated with the current shortage of sunflower oil and margarine.

Global Grain Trade Volumes Easing

The FAO expect global trade in grains to decline 1.2% by the end of the 2021-22 marketing year. The decline is associated with maize and other coarse grains, while trade volumes for rice are predicted to grow by 3.8% and that for wheat by 1.0%.

With almost all crops harvested for the 2020-21 cycle, FAO pegs the world cereal production at 2,799 million metric tons (MT), an 0.8% increase from the 2019/20 outturn.

World cereal utilization for the 2021-22 period is projected to increase by 0.9% from the previous year to 2,785 million MT.

FAO’s new estimate for world cereal stocks by the close of seasons in 2022 now stands at 856 million MT, 2.8% above opening levels, led by a build-up in maize inventories partly due to suspended exports from Ukraine. If confirmed, the global cereal stocks-to-use ratio would end the period unchanged at a “relatively comfortable supply level” of 29.9%, according to FAO.

FAO still predicts global wheat production to grow in 2022, to 782 million MT. That forecast incorporates an expected 20% decline in harvested area in Ukraine as well as drought-driven output declines in Morocco.

For coarse grains, Brazil is on course to harvest a record maize crop of 116 million MT in 2022, while weather conditions are likely to dent maize output in Argentina and South Africa. Initial planting surveys indicate that maize acreage in the United States of America is likely to decline by 4%, amid concerns over the high costs of fertilizers and other inputs.

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