Global Food Prices Hit Record High in March

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World food commodity prices made a significant leap in March — up 12.6% from February — representing their highest levels ever as the Russia-Ukraine war spread shocks through markets for staple grains and vegetable oils. The data referenced was provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on April 8. These prices were also 33.6% higher than those recorded in March 2021.

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The FAO Cereal Price Index was 17.1% higher in March than in February, driven by large rises in wheat and all coarse grain prices largely as a result of the war in Ukraine. The Russian Federation and Ukraine, combined, accounted for around 30% and 20% of global wheat and maize exports, respectively, over the past three years.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index was up 23.2% from February, hitting a new record high driven by rising sunflower, palm, soy and rapeseed oil prices.

“International sunflower seed oil quotations increased substantially in March, fueled by reduced export supplies amid the ongoing conflict in the Black Sea region,” according to the FAO.

The FAO Dairy Price Index was up 2.6% from February, marking the seventh consecutive monthly increase. The FAO Meat Price Index was up 4.8% from February, also reaching an all-time high. The FAO Sugar Price Index was up 6.7% from February, reversing most of the previous three months’ decline and reaching levels more than 20% above those registered in the corresponding month last year.

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“The March rebound in international sugar price quotations was mainly prompted by the sharp increase in international crude oil prices, which raised expectations of a greater use of sugarcane for ethanol production in Brazil in the upcoming season,” the FAO said in the release.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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