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The price of meat and meat products around the world appears to be bucking the trend of falling food prices.
According to the Food Price Index from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, food prices around the world fell by 1.8 per cent in April compared to March – although they were still much higher than in April 2016.
The FAO said that its food price index averaged 168 points in April, down 3.1 points on March.
This was still 15.2 points higher than a year ago – up by 10 per cent.
However, within this general trend of falling food prices, meat prices saw a rise of 2.8 points – up to 166.6 points or a rise of 1.7 per cent on March.
Part of the reason for this discrepancy between meat and all other commodities, is perhaps the fact that the FAO uses a different method to calculate global meat prices than for the other food stuffs.
But the general trend for meat since the beginning of the year has been for prices to be rising while all others have been falling – even after adjustments in the calculations have been made.
Between January and April, the meat price index rose by almost five per cent with quotations for sheep and pig meat firming, and beef and poultry meat remaining almost unchanged.
The food price index report says: “Strong domestic demand in the EU, combined with increased sales to China and the Republic of Korea, stimulated pig meat prices.
“Seasonal demand bolstered ovine quotations, while poultry and bovine meat markets remained well balanced.”
The food price index reports a steep fall in price for sugar, down by 9.1 per cent or 23.3 points, hitting a 12 month low.
“Continued weak global import demand and prospects of larger export supplies from Brazil are among the main factors behind the price decline in April,” says the FAO.
Dairy prices fell for the second month in a row, down by 6.2 points or 3.3 per cent to 183.6 points.
The FAO says: “Ample milk supplies, as production in the northern hemisphere has entered its seasonal peak, allayed immediate sourcing concerns and raised expectations of increased production of milk powders and cheese.
“In contrast to the other dairy commodities, butter prices firmed, as expanding domestic demand in Europe and North America reduced export availabilities.”
Vegetable oil prices also fell by more than 6 points to 161.1 points or by 3.9 per cent, with the fall mainly reflecting lower palm and soy oil prices.
Cereal prices were down by 1.2 per cent or 1.8 points to 146 points.
They were also down by 2.5 per cent on the figures a year ago.
“Strong export competition and expectations that global cereal availabilities will remain ample in the 2017/18 season continued to weigh on international prices of most cereals, wheat in particular,” the FAO says.
“International rice prices, by contrast, firmed in April, buoyed by a more upbeat pace of sales, especially to Near Eastern buyers.”