World food price index rise 5% year-on-year in Sept -FAO
ROME, October 8 (Reuters) - World food prices rose for the fourth year in a row in September, led by a surge in grains and vegetable oils, the United Nations Food Agency said Thursday.
The Food and Agriculture Organization's food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of grains, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 97.9 points last month, down from 95.9 points in August.
The August number was previously given as 96.1.
The Rome-based FAO also said in a statement that global grain harvests remained on track to hit an annual record in 2020, despite slightly truncating their earlier projections.
The agency's grain price index rose by 5.1% in September compared to the previous month and by 13.6% compared to the previous year.
"Higher wheat prices led to the spike triggered by buoyant trading activity amid concerns about production prospects in the southern hemisphere as well as arid conditions affecting winter wheat sowing across Europe," the FAO said.
Corn, sorghum and barley prices rose while rice prices fell 1.4% as fresh demand slowed.
The vegetable oil price index rose 6.0% month on month, largely thanks to rising prices for palm trees, sunflower and soybean oil, which hit an 8-month high.
The milk index hardly changed over the course of the month, with the price quotations for butter, cheese and skimmed milk powder rising moderately and being offset by a decline in whole milk powder.
Average sugar prices fell 2.6% from August, reflecting expectations of global surplus production for the new 2020/2021 season.
The meat index fell by 0.9% compared to the previous month and decreased by 9.4% compared to the previous year. Pork quotations fell as China banned imports from Germany after the discovery of African swine fever in Europe's largest economy.
The FAO has revised its forecast for the 2020 grain season by 2.5 million tons, reflecting lower expectations for global coarse grain production.
Despite this decline, the agency expected a record harvest of 2.762 billion tons this year, an increase of 2.1% compared to 2019.
The forecast for global grain utilization in 2020/21 was estimated at 2.744 billion tonnes, a decrease of 2.8 million tonnes since September, but still 54.5 million tonnes above the 2019/20 estimate. The forecast for global grain stocks at the end of the season 2021 was 890 million tons, a decrease of 5.9 million tons from the previous estimate, but still a record high.
(Reporting by Crispian Balmer)
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