Food commodity prices fall for fifth year in a row in 2016
Prices of major food commodities declined for the fifth year in a row in 2016.
Bumper harvests and prospects for staple cereals offset upward pressure on FAO's Food Price Index from tropical commodities such as sugar and palm oil, where production was impacted by El Nino.
"Economic uncertainties, including movements in exchange rates, are likely to influence food markets even more so this year," said FAO senior economist Abdolreza Abbassian.
In December, the Index averaged nearly 172 points, unchanged from November.
The FAO Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index tracking international market prices for five key food commodity groups: major cereals, vegetable oils, dairy, meat and sugar.
2016 was marked by a steady decline in cereal prices, which fell 9.6 percent from 2015 and were down 39 percent from their 2011 peak. At the same time, sugar and vegetable oil prices rose over the year by 34.2 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively.
Cereals steady in December as dairy and vegetable oils rise
FAO's Cereal Price Index, largely stable since September, increased 0.5 percent in the month of December, with rice and maize quotations firming up while larger-than-expected production estimates in Australia, Canada and the Russian Federation led to lower wheat prices.