Saturday, January 28, 2023

Food Price Index Hits All-Time High in February — Up 24% From One Year Ago — And It’s Going Higher

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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reported last week that the international food price index hit an all-time high in February. Food prices are up 24% from one year ago.
And it’s only going to get worse.

The FAO Food Price Index* (FFPI) averaged 140.7 points in February 2022, up 5.3 points (3.9 percent) from January and as much as 24.1 points (20.7 percent) above its level a year ago. This represents a new all-time high, exceeding the previous top of February 2011 by 3.1 points. The February rise was led by large increases in vegetable oil and dairy price sub-indices. Cereals and meat prices were also up, while the sugar price sub-index fell for the third consecutive month.

Seeking Alpha reported:

Global food prices hit an all-time high last month, up 3.9% from January and 24.1% from a year ago, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was just getting started.

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With Chicago wheat futures (W_1:COM)already soaring by a weekly record 40% to a 14-year high $12.09 per bushel, the chaos in global crop trading is nearly certain to push costs up even more.

“There is no end in sight to the upswing because 30% of the world’s wheat exports have been cut off from the global market by the war,” although some countries are starting to cut back on their export purchasing due to the high prices, Commerzbank said.

Corn (C_1:COM) rose to its highest since September 2012 at $7.82 1/2 per bushel before settling at $7.54 1/4 a bushel; soybeans (S_1:COM), which gave up early gains to close slightly lower at $16.60 1/2 per bushel, are less exposed to trade in Russia and the Ukraine but they still face upward pressure from weather developments in South America.

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