Global food prices hit a record high in February – not helped by fresh oil price spikes and stockpiling in some countries.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Food Price Index hit its second straight record and is now well past the peaks seen in 2008 when prices sparked riots in several
Cereals, dairy and meat are all rising – US wheat prices have surged 60 percent in the past year.
FAO economist Abdolreza Abbassian said global food prices are likely to remain close to record highs until the condition of the latest harvest is known.
He added that jumps in the oil price – now at a two and a half year high – could have a bigger impact on grain markets.
“Until we know about new crops, that means waiting at least until April, our view is don’t expect any major corrections in these high prices, expect even more volatility now that oil has joined the crowd,” Abbassian said.
He warned that stockpiling by some major grain importers “beyond country’s normal needs” seeking to head off political unrest and secure supplies on domestic markets, has been adding uncertainty and volatility to the markets.
The FAO index, which measures monthly price changes for a food basket composed of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, averaged 236 points in February, the record in real and nominal terms, up 2.2 percent from January’s record and rising for the eighth month in a row.